| I hate to rain on the local parade, but this meet will be dominated by southern schools. Look for Colerain, Coffman, and Hilliard Davidson to make it a shootout. I'm giving the edge to Davidson, but look for them to be pushed by Colerain.
Strongsville has the edge in the local schools, but look for them to be hotly pursued by Massilon Jackson. One of the important things to consider in the state meet is front runners. Every superior team needs one exceptional runner to cancel out other teams stars. Strongsville has one in Kelly Ardelean. Jackson can have one if Ashley Hmiel steps up. Then it's on the rest of the team to step up. St. Joseph Academy will also be a factor.
Two really interesting schools to look at this year are Medina and Kent. The teams are very similar as can be seen by looking at the interviews. The one thing these teams need is one or two runners to step up and run near the front. Out of the teams top runners, Lindsay Wojciak is the only one that has done it in the past. Kim Jendre and Jodi Hensel are both sophomores and should be able to cash in on their state experience from last year. The cards to this race all lay in Kent's hands. Can Kelly Felter take the next step and run with the likes of a Sikes? Can Tiffany and Emily White return to form? Last year, Tiffany was hurt and missed the state meet, Kent still shocked and finished second. If Emily White can repeat last years performance (20:16) or go faster, Kent has a shot.
The individual race is really interesting. Last year's champ Chelsea Homan is returning, but lost in the Troy Regional to Lindsay Zinn (5th), the second highest returning runner. Andrea Maas from Colerain is the next on the list that can hang at the front. The remainder of the individual race will be loaded with a plethora of runners from Coffman, Colerain and Davidson.
The good news is we have some of the best returning individuals in the state. Michelle Sikes (10th) should be right with the leaders, and Molly Hammer (12th) has the ability to do the same thing. Kelly Ardelean (8th) will be in the mix, as should Lindsay Wojciak (22nd). Ashley Hmiel finished in 20th last season and should do about the same this year.
Top Team: Hilliard Davidson
Top Ind.: Lindsay Zinn
Local Teams: Strongsville (4th), St. Joe's (5th), Jackson (7th), Kent (8th), Medina (9th)
Local Ind.: Top 5 threats: Sikes Podium: Hammer, Ardelean All State: Hmiel, Wojciak, Felter, Jendre, D. Springstubb, Dalic, Hensel.