Great Lakes Regional: Men's and Women's Preview
October 18th, 2018
Michigan women seek to become next powerhouse, led by Anna Piccione, as they both look to repeat. Purdue and Indiana primed to battle for men's team title but dark horse could play spoiler.
Great Lakes Regional Preview - Women (Shelbyville, IN)
The Great Lakes Regional will return to Shelbyville, Indiana at the Blue River Cross Country Course, coming off of its most recent role as host city to NIRCA’s 2018 Spring Track and Field Nationals. A power shift has taken place in the Great Lakes Regional as the University of Michigan is showing all the makings of becoming a powerhouse after winning the Regional last year by scoring 30 points, 26 points clear of second place Michigan State; at Nationals, this team skated by with 76 points, easily 46 points clear of second place Penn State.
Michigan returns all five of their top racers from last year’s regional, led by All-American Anna Piccione who won outright at Shelbyville last year with a time of 22:18. Aside from a fourth-place finish at NIRCA Cross Country Nationals in East Lansing, Anna has only known what it’s like to finish first since then: She earned her status as National Championship in April in the 5,000m run, won Ball State’s MC5, won Little Tens, and if that wasn’t enough, she won on school rival turf at the Spartan Grand Classic. She will joined by Audrey Ladd, Alison McLean, Amberlee Kreis, and Mollee Shultz to round out the top 5 for Michigan.
Purdue finished just outside the top 3 at Regionals last year, but is bringing back four members from that team, with a boost from newcomer Lauren Orr, who, at the very least, is consistent -- placing fourth at the Boiler Up Invitational, and fourth again at Little Tens. We’re expecting Purdue’s team to be led by Faith Baer and Nina Bouthier who finished eighth and ninth at the Great Lakes Regional last year, plus Lucy Hilarides and Miranda Gollwitzer, in 29th and 30th.
Indiana, Miami (OH), and Cincinnati project as the teams that should put up a strong fight for a spot on the team podium. Indiana retained two of its top 30 runners from last year’s regional, Jamie Frederick, 11th, and Emily Ryan, 24th, and they have both been running well this year. With top ten placements at the Boiler Up Invitational, Jamie was the first runner-up (second place) and Emily ran to a ninth place finish. Cincinnati has last year’s 15th place finisher, Lauren Kemper, at the front of their team’s pack this year; Miami (OH) has a new face, Abbie Klinker, who placed top five at both the Boiler Up Invitational and Little Tens, plus Michaela Dray, 27th at Regionals last year, leading their team.
1st – Michigan
2nd – Purdue
3rd – Indiana
Great Lakes Regional Preview - Men (Shelbyville, IN)
While the Women’s Regional may be well in hand, the Men’s side is wide open. Reining Regional Champions Purdue return the most top 30 runners, four, Nate Veldt (2nd), Connor Sandt (6th), Michael Howell (14th), and Matthew Sraders (20th). Collectively they have had a good season leading up to Regionals claiming 3rd, 5th, and 6th at the Little Tens and took 1st and 2nd at the Boiler Up Invitational; however, they were beat out by Indiana, 25 to 30.
Indiana returns three top 30 runners from last year’s Regional, Matt Flaherty (3rd), Nicholas Bergen (4th), and Nick Brouch (19th). Matt became an All American last year finishing 4th in East Lansing at Fall Nationals but has not yet run in a race this year and should be hungry to finish top three again at Regionals this year. Their team is rounded out by Collin Huber and Jared Reckard, who took 3rd and 4th at the Boiler Up Invitational, who should help the Hoosiers fight for 1st as a team.
Michigan will try to play spoiler as they look to improve upon their 3rd place finish last year. The Wolverines may only have 2 individuals who ran in Shelbyville last year, Adam Sawicki, 8th, and Lynus Zullo, 24th, but are far from an inexperienced squad. Tyler Opdycke, who ran very well at Nationals last year claiming 16th, finished 2nd at the MC5 and 1st at the Little Tens and looks ready to help Michigan fight for first.
The other teams looking for a podium spot are Michigan State, Ohio State, and Central Michigan. Michigan State will be led by Paulo Guarano and Jack Aman, 18th and 30th last year. Ohio State will follow Even Sergent and Ryan Whitney, 22nd and 29th last year, and Central Michigan has Erik Davis, 25th last year, leading them but hopes Zachary Sleeman, who claimed 2nd in the Freshman/Sophomore race at Fall Nationals last year, can help them push for a podium spot.
1st – Indiana
2nd – Michigan
3rd – Purdue
Michael Potter, NIRCA