Bridgman’s girls cross country team has a great chance to win a regional title on Saturday.
The Bees have had a successful season which included a Berrien County meet title, and are the favorites in the Division 4 regional at Allendale.
“The girls have run well all year,” Bridgman coach Spencer Carr said. “They’ve won every meet but two that they’ve been to. We’re very confident going into the regional meet.”
The Division 4 girls race at Allendale will begin at 9:30 a.m., with the boys race at 11 a.m.
Local Division 2 and 3 teams will compete at Centreville. St. Joseph will compete in the Division 1 meet at Portage West Middle School, where several local Division 4 teams will also run.
The top three teams in each regional and any individual runners in the top 15 qualify for the state finals.
All five of Bridgman’s regular girls runners are projected to finish in the top 10 based on times posted to athletic.net.
Junior Karsyn Stewart holds the school record of 19:45.6, and sophomore Arie Hackett has had an impressive first season with the team with a personal-best time of 20:06.8.
Freshman Summer Fast and sophomore Jane Kaspar have also had strong seasons, and senior Mikaela Owen, a state-champion sprinter, rounds out the lineup.
Bridgman is also looking to qualify for state on the boys side. The Bees’ top competition will include Wyoming Potter’s House and Muskegon Western Michigan Christian.
“We’ve been talking a lot about stepping up in big situations, and this is one of those situations,” Carr said.
Senior Chipper Steffey and junior Luke Blesy have been Bridgman’s top runners, and John Sanderson has had a very good freshman season.
Carr noted that the course at Allendale is fast, and weather conditions are predicted to be favorable.
“We’re hoping to come out of there with some really good times leading up to the state meet,” he said.
Berrien Springs won a Division 3 boys regional title last season but will compete in Division 2 this year.
Otsego is the clear favorite, but the Shamrocks are hoping to qualify for state. Coach Charles Richards expects to be in a close battle with
“I think we’ve got a really good chance,” Richards said. “I think we’ve tapered down for regionals more this year because we’re not certain we’re going to make it out. We’re taking this meet as our last meet.”
Ashton Sheline has been Berrien Springs’ top runner this year with a best time of 16:22.4, followed by Carter Sheline at 16:59.0.
Richards described the course at Centreville as having more trails and hills, features his team has plenty of experience with.
“It’s something we hope that can even out the playing field a little for us,” Richards said.
The Shamrock girls aren’t expecting to compete for a team state berth, but Erin Moore is likely to be an individual qualifier.
The Division 2 girls race at Centreville is at 12:45, with the boys at 1:15. The Division 3 races are earlier, with the girls at 9 and the boys at 9:45.
Saugatuck is both the boys and girls favorite in Division 3.
Bloomingdale could contend for state berths in both races, along with the Watervliet boys and Coloma girls.
St. Joseph isn’t expected to contend for team state berths in Division 1, but the Bears’ Riley Mullen could be an individual state qualifier.
Mullen leads the St. Joseph girls with a best time of 19:36.7 this season. The Division 1 girls race is at 11:30 and the boys at 12:30.
Division 4 girls at Portage will race at 9:30, with the boys to follow at 10:15.
Contact: bsanders@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSanders