So we begin with team subjective rankings. These are teams that are on the bottom spectrum of the ranking system, but in no way are we saying these squads are bad. In fact, don't be surprised if several of these squads step up and surprise some of the so-called elite programs.
25. Pleasant Plains
Head Coach/coaches: Derek DeBarr/ Rob Havens/Joseph Higginson
Last year's finish: Elmwood Sectional- 12th
Projected top 7: Jachino, Bernadette Tournoux, Brigid Tournoux, Utterback, Brewer; Izzy Dossett, Emily Higginson, Anna Cochran, Anna Moore, and six other girls will be battling it out for the last two spots.
Newcomers: "Bernadette and Brigid Tournoux have transferred in from Springfield Lutheran and will boost the front end of our lineup. Anna Cochran was injured all last year and has had a very promising summer. Freshman Izzy Dossett is a very solid runner and ran at the IESA state meet last year. We have 17 girls on the list to run right now, which is the largest pre-season sign up we have ever had, so there will be many newcomers."
Coach's thoughts on the team: Caroline Jachino has had the best summer that she's ever had. She's running faster with less effort and longer than she ever has over a summer. Madison Utterback is about 30-40 seconds per mile ahead of where she was at in September of last year. The Tournoux sisters have put in the work the summer and are looking good. This is the deepest girls squat that we have had in years.
Head Coach: Eric Kirkpatrick
Last year's finish: State- 23rd
Key returners: Chloe Hill (Sr.), Gabby Alongi (Jr.), Jacqueline Crain (So.)- all return from the top 5 from last year.
Projected top 7: TBA
Newcomers: Grace Alongi, Maddie Decker, Alexis George, and Olivia Phillips will be our new freshmen additions.
Coach's thoughts on the team: We will be counting on several freshmen this year to help fill the void left by 4-time all-conference, 3-time all-south selection Andrea Lopez. Right now we are just trying to be consistent in what we are doing over the summer to come into the start of the season ready to go. Our goals are the same as they are every year. We want to improve from race to race and be at our best at the end of the season.
Head Coach: Tim Bower
Last year's finish: State- 20th
Projected top 7: Runde, Mette, Habing, Micah McWhorter, Ashley Bressendorf
Coach's thoughts on the team: We don't have large numbers but our top 3 should be very strong individuals. We will have to wait and see who can step up to round out our team.
Head Coach: Jean Orr
Last year's finish: State- 19th
Key returners: Grace Maschhoff (Sr), Brittnie Bartling (Sr), Havalen Pierce (So), Sabrina Kollbaum (Jr),
Tony's thoughts: Six of the top seven return and the goal has to be improving middle to upper pack running. The corps of the group all broke 20:00 minutes last season. To be competitive on a state level, times must dip under 19:30 for a scoring five.
Head Coach: Steven Bland
Last year's finish: State- 9th
Tony's thoughts: The Lions graduated a main piece in Nygia Pollard who is now at Grand Valley State. In addition, the loss of Carsen Forte to Prairie Ridge HS is going to really hurt. The all-stater would have been a major threat to be a low stick runner. Now the team will have to rally around four senior starters who return.