CENTREVILLE — Dowagiac's Shawn Little thought the pace was a bit too slow during Saturday's Division 2 boys cross country regional meet at Centreville, so he took the race into his own hands.

Little repeated as regional champion, gradually running away from the competition on his way to a 16:27.66 finishing time and an automatic trip to the state finals held at Michigan International Speedway next Saturday.

"My original strategy was to sit behind the leader and then kick at the end," said Little. "When my coach yelled out 5:20 (at the first mile), I knew that I was way below pace, so I sprinted out for like 30 seconds. No one went with me, so I just held the pace for the entire race. I just felt good.

"I noticed a lot of people slipping around the muddy parts, and I'm usually pretty good about not slipping, so I had that advantage, too."

Centreville played host to both the Division 2 and 3 regionals, with multiple area teams competing for a trip to the state finals. The Division 2 race featured slick conditions after rain began to fall.

The Division 3 race, held earlier in the day, remained dry.

Little was also an individual regional champion last season, though Saturday's race gave him a little more breathing room. Where he had to outsprint an opponent in the final stretch last year, on Saturday, Little's time was nearly 20 seconds ahead of second-place Hunter Zartman of Otsego.

Otsego was able to capture the team title, however, as it placed its top five runners inside the top 20 for a score of 54. Holland Christian took second with 90 and Berrien Springs also qualified as a team by placing third with 122.

This will be the Shamrock boys' fourth straight trip to the state finals.

Shamrocks coach Charles Richards said his team had a bit of a scare during the race when Shammah Dosunmu slipped and turned an ankle. Dosunmu was running fourth for Berrien at the time, and the Shamrocks ended up missing out on what would likely have been a handful of key points.

"That was kind of a bummer," Richards said. "He was able to finish. He was our No. 7 guy, but he can't walk now. That could have been a few points for us, so we were a little worried. But we ended up 30 (points) clear of fourth (place). 

"It's our fourth year in a row now (qualifying), so that's a good streak to have. I don't think the guys were as happy with their performance, but now that they have this monkey off their back, hopefully we can really get after it next week."

Ashton Sheline was the frontrunner for the Shamrocks, finishing 10th in a time of 17:13.54. Carter Sheline and James Burke were two and three for the Shamrocks, placing 17th and 18th overall.

Other individual qualifiers included Lakeshore's Race Bettich, who finished fourth overall in 16:47.61. Cole Parker (13th, 17:20.56) of Dowagiac and Adam Shepherd of Niles (14th, 17:26.49) also qualified.

No area teams qualified in the girls race, although four individual runners will be competing at MIS next week after placing in the top-15 on Saturday.

Niles' Kaylee Thompson was the top area finisher. She placed eighth, crossing the line in 20:16.41.

Erin Moore of Berrien Springs (11th, 20:43.75), Lakeshore freshman Emily Peters (13th, 20:50.55) and South Haven's Summer Corke (14th, 20:52.92) also qualified.

Lakeshore was the top area team, scoring 199 to place sixth.

Otsego was the team winner with 45, followed by Holland Christian (55) and Zeeland East (119). Holland Christian's Gillian Fiene was the individual champion in 19:07.46, narrowly out-lasting her teammate, Michelle Kuipers, who ran 19:07.98.

On the Division 3 side, Coloma's girls qualified for the state finals as a team. Comets coach Courtney Churchill said she's unsure of the last time the Comets sent a team, either girls or boys, to the finals, but knows it has been at least 15 seasons.

Galesburg-Augusta pulled off the upset on regional favorite Saugatuck, ending the Indians' regional title run of five straight years with 46 points to Sautatuck's 55. Coloma scored 114 for third, barely edging out fourth-place Bloomingdale's 116.

"(They ran) phenomenally," Churchill said. "We barely made it, but they ran smart like they were supposed to do. (Our plan for state) is to go in there and try to run some PRs, while having some fun at the same time."

The Comets were led by Ava Genovese, who placed ninth in 21:15.99. Coloma's second runner, Emma Vandermolen, didn't cross until 22nd (22:19.23), but the Comets were able to pack runners two through five closer together than the Cardinals, whose gap stretched a bit wider.

Coloma's one-through-five gap was 2:08, while Bloomingale's was 3:01.

Bloomingdale's Kallie Harrison (fourth in 20:49.86) and Aimee Sustaita (12th in 21:30.93) qualified individually.

Galesburg's Aubree Sedore was the individual winner in 20:10.15.

No other local runners or teams qualified.

In the boys race, Watervliet fell just short of a trip to the state finals, finishing fourth with 89 points. Heavy favorite Saugatuck (36 points) was a winner for an eighth straight season. Bloomingdale was a distant second with 62, and Parchment scored 76 to place third.

Watervliet was able to qualify individual runners in Gus Hinch, who placed ninth in 17:44.92, and Ezra Troyer, a 13th-place finisher in 18:00.14.

Joe Furlan paced Bloomingdale, placing third overall behind Saugatuck's Max Sharnas (16:42.53) and Nik Pettinga (16:54.68). Tyler Starbuck also placed inside the top-15 for Bloomingdale.

Other area qualifiers included Bangor's Alvaro Martinez (fifth in 17:23.49) and Zach Trainor (14th in 18:01.82), as well as Buchanan's Walker Barz (sixth in 17:26. 66) and Kelsey Brown (11th in 17:53.82).

Cross Country Regionals

at Centreville High School

Division 2

Girls

Team scores — 1. Otsego 45, 2. Holland Christian 55, 3. Zeeland East 119, 4. Hamilton 144, 5. Vicksburg 169, 6. Lakeshore 199, 7. Niles 204, 8. Allegan 220, 9. Berrien Springs 226, 10. Paw Paw 226, 11. South Haven 268, 12. Sturgis 279, 13. Three Rivers 280, 14. Edwardsburg 397. No team score: Dowagiac

Individual winner — Gillian Fiene (HC) 19:07.46.

Lakeshore — 13. Emily Peters 20:50.55, 40. Abigail Winsman 22:15.77, 44. Rachel Vroegop 22:24.93, 45. Haylee Woods 22:27.93, 57. Cait Obrien 22:52.88.

Niles — 8. Kaylee Thompson 20:16.41, 36. Kayla Trueblood 22:03.61, 43. Kierstyn Thompson 22:22.59, 53. Cassandra Shortman 22:45.64, 64. Erin Thomas 23:11.73.

Berrien Springs — 11. Erin Moore 20:43.75, 46. Anna Constable 22:31.11, 54. McKenzie Geralds 22:47.34, 56. Shaylynn Reyes 22:52.03, 59. Victoria Wurzel 22:56.82.

South Haven — 14. Summer Corke 20:52.92, 23. Katie Schooley 21:31.76, 50. Hayden Rooker 22:38.94, 88. Karlie Woodall 25:38.62, 93. Camborley Gleason 26:21.67.

Dowagiac — 95. Alessandra Zaghetti 28:03.68.

Boys

Team scores — 1. Otsego 54, 2. Holland Christian 90, 3. Berrien Springs 122, 4. Vicksburg 153, 5. Allegan 154, 6. Three Rivers 176, 7. Hamilton 187, 8. Zeeland East 192, 9. Sturgis 226, 10. Lakeshore 229, 11. Paw Paw 276, 12. Dowagiac 288, 13. Edwardsburg 307, 14. South Haven 385, 15. Niles 390.

Individual winner — Shawn Little (Dow) 16:27.66.

Berrien Springs — 10. Ashton Sheline 17:13.54, 17. Carter Sheline 17:35.56, 18. James Burke 17:41.05, 33. Nathaniel Bittner 18:19.84, 44. Nick Swank 18:35.32.

Lakeshore — 4. Race Bettich 16:47.61, 47. Charlie Ogata 18:39.67, 55. Lucas Balkema 18:56.77, 59. Denver Borst 19:04.88, 64. Grant Rose 19:16.63.

Dowagiac — 1. Shawn Little 16:27.66, 13. Cole Parker 17:20.56, 85. William Leonard 20:22.83, 91. Jonathan Phillips 21:35.05, 98. George Gamino-Rivera 23:31.76.

South Haven — 46. Carson Rooker 18:37.63, 73. Brian Thompson 19:33.07, 84. Ben Meyer 20:08.48, 88. Luke Prohn 21:01.05, 94. Jacob Meyer 21:45.34.

Niles — 14. Adam Shepherd 17:26.49, 90. Preston Sharpe 21:24.08, 93. Ashton Burrous 21:43.17, 96. Clement Baird 22:40.32, 97. Teagan Young 23:11.92.

Division 3

Girls

Team scores — 1. Galesburg-Augusta 46, 2. Saugatuck 55, 3. Coloma 114, 4. Bloomingdale 116, 5. Schoolcraft 147, 6. Hartford 152, 7. Parchment 180, 8. Centreville 203, 9. Bangor 232, 10. Lawton 242, 11. Constantine 285, 12. Buchanan 309, 13. Brandywine 338, 14. Watervliet 374. No team score: Comstock, Fennville.

Individual winner — Aubree Sedore (GA) 20:10.15.

Coloma — 9. Ava Genovese 21:15.99, 22. Emma Vandermolen 22:19.23, 27. Abby Vandermolen 22:36.41, 31. Chloe Williams 22:56.04, 38. Camryn Brown 23:24.56.

Bloomingdale — 4. Kallie Harrison 20:49.86, 12. Aimee Sustaita 21:30.93, 28. Addison Miller 22:44.20, 37. Marta Douglas 23:22.47, 45. Olaisa Moss 23:51.25.

Hartford — 18. Yovana Naranjo 22:08.08, 29. Katherine Sanchez 22:52.40, 35. Jasmin Janicki 23:16.42, 40. Jamie Smith 23:31.17, 44. Mayra Naranjo 23:46.99.

Bangor — 32. Brisa Sanchez-Valdez 23:10.02, 41. Sandra Barajas 23:37.84, 46. Lilliana Alcauter 23:56.46, 52. Emily Hernandez 24:26.51, 77. Hannah Householder 27:25.02.

Buchanan — 34. Natalie Riley 23:11.70, 62. Joy Kaltenbach 25:37.87, 73. Lorna Matuszewski 27:00.68, 78. Jade Smith 27:37.22, 79. Katie DeVlaminck 27:37.63.

Brandywine — 48. Allison Lauri 24:00.63, 63. Morgan Horvath 25:59, 71. Madison Franks 26:57.08, 83. Karla Avina-Rios 28:21.41, 93. Annie Youngs 30:46.39.

Watervliet — 61. Kristina Swanson 25:16.00, 76. Keyona Klimkiewicz 27:19.41, 84. Alyssa Lange 28:22.61, 85. Destiny Kerr 28:53.19, 87. Aria Richards 29:23.30.

Boys

Team scores — 1. Saugatuck 36, 2. Bloomingdale 62, 3. Parchment 76, 4. Watervliet 89, 5. Coloma 152, 6. Bangor 158, 7. Hartford 203, 8. Schoolcraft 204, 9. Constantine 223, 10. Centreville 242, 11. Brandywine 334. No team score: Buchanan, Fennville, Lawton, Comstock.

Individual winner — 1. Max Sharnas (Saug) 16:42.53.

Bloomingdale — 3. Joe Furlan 17:07.90, 7. Tyler Starbuck 17:41.88, 17. David Garcia 18:09.44, 18. Malachi Cassels 18:21.74, 25. Trace Wixom 18:31.70.

Watervliet — 9. Gus Hinch 17:44.92, 13. Ezra Troyer 18:00.14, 19. Kody Edmonds 18:22.64, 27. Trevor Pelton 18:51.90, 32. German Casiano 19:04.20.

Coloma — 20. Jake Ickes 18:23.07, 23. Ethan Vandermolen 18:29.46, 30. Blane Sutherland 18:56.35, 41. Riley Davis 19:36.44, 60. Caleb Ishmaeil 20:46.66.

Bangor — 5. Alvaro Martinez 17:23.49, 14. Zach Trainor 18:01.82, 31. Aurelio Malgerejo 18:58.74, 59. Daniel Adams 20:36.42, 73. Abner Mendoza 21:54.85.

Hartford — 26. Joey Lemkuhl 18:48.74, 28. Jacob Morales 18:53.99, 52. Aldo Acevedo 20:19.96, 53. Hunter Bloom 20:21.35, 75. Arulio Delgado 22:04.11.

Brandywine — 69. Aaron Lauri 21:18.84, 72. Keegan Rieth 21:24.65, 87. Bryce Taberski 24:28.08, 88. Gage Hoskin 25:31.63, Gabe Gouin 25:39.77.

Buchanan — 6. Walker Barz, 17:26.66, 11. Kelsey Brown 17:53.82, 82. Luke Sherwood 22:45.97, 85. Caden Mattingly 23:45.11.

Contact: bspencer@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSpencer