Key–S-sprints (100-200-400), MD-middle distance (400-800-1600), D-distance (1600-3200), H-hurdles, R-relays, LJ-long jump, HJ-high jump, J-jumps (high and long), PV-pole vault, SP-shot put, DS-discus, T-throws (shot put and discus)
CAPITAL AREA ACTIVITIES CONFERENCE (CAAC) BLUE
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Okemos, 2. Grand Ledge, 3. East Lansing, 4. Holt, 5. Jackson, 6. Sexton, 7. Everett, 8. Eastern
Top athletes: Kael Fineout (Okemos), Austin Edwards (Grand Ledge), Ba Blamo (Grand Ledge), Kentre Patterson (East Lansing), Tyler Todd (Holt), Stefan Jones (Grand Ledge), DeShaun Lowery (Holt)
Last year: 2nd
Coach: Pat Murray (34th season)
Top returning athletes: Kentre Patterson (so. H/R), Lawrence Davis (sr. S/MD/R), Jacob Pruitt (jr. D), Matt Crouch (sr. S/R/HJ), Jamal Lofton (sr. PV)
Other contributors: Heath Williams (jr. SP), Josh Smith (jr. S/R)
Outlook: The Trojans bring back several accomplished athletes. Patterson was a LSJ Dream Team selection last season, Davis was the state champion in the 1,600, and Williams was a medal winner at the Saginaw Valley State University indoor meet last year. Murray likes the individual talent he has, but says East Lansing will have to fill out the events to have a shot at team success.
Top contributors: Davontae Madden (S), Gideon Ciza (S), LaTone Smith (S)
Last year: 8th
Coach: Marcelle Carruthers (9th season)
Top returning athletes: Leondre Terry (sr. S/MD), Bryan Jones (sr. S/MD), Rhett Blackman (sr. S/MD), Marvin Wright (sr. S/MD), Jaleel Jones (jr. T), Alfonso Reyna (so. T)
Other contributors: Bastian Fahrmann (jr. J)
Outlook: The Vikings return an all-state member in Terry and three all-conference runners in Bryan Jones, Blackman and Wright.
Last year: 3rd
Coach: Fred Hutchinson (1st season)
Top returning athletes: Stefan Jones (sr. S), Ba Blamo (jr. S), Austin Edwards (jr. S), Jack Twarozinski (sr. D), Nathan Goshka (jr. D), Christian Hubaker (so. D), Tyler McCartney (so. D), Jonathan Dobre (sr. T), Dylan Techentin (sr. S/LJ)
Other contributors: Evan Shelton (jr. H), Cam Edlin (sr. S), Seven Davis (so. PV/S), Colton Stephens (so. PV/S), Jared Babcock (sr. MD)
Outlook: The Comets welcome back three all-state selections in Jones, Blamo and Edwards. Hutchinson believes his team has the potential to capture league and regional titles. Grand Ledge has a solid mix of experience and youth that give them depth in several events.
Top returning athletes: Alberto Gomez (sr.-D), DeShaun Lowery (so.-S), Tyler Todd (sr.-HJ).
Outlook: Gomez, Lowery and Todd were among the area’s top performers in their events last season and return for the Rams.
Last year: 1st
Coach: Brian Harrod (13th season)
Top contributors: Kael Fineout (sr. D), Carson Alexander (sr. D), Ben Cady (sr. D), Brett LaCosse (sr. S), Evan Matusz (sr. S), Malcolm Williams (sr. H), Marquis Wilson (sr. T), Napoleon Outlaw (so. S), Everett Henderson (sr. S), Charlie VanSumeren (sr. PV)
Other contributors: Sahil Dagli (sr. D), Elliot Kadrofske (jr. D), Nolan Stanko (jr. S/PV), Vail Hartman (so. S), Paul McKinley (fr. D), Saano Murembya (fr. D), Chris Nelson (sr. S)
Outlook: The Chiefs have a core group of seniors, which includes an all-state selection in Fineout. Okemos looks to win back-to-back league titles with a mixture of veterans and athletic newcomers.
Top returning athletes: Rayshawn Wilborn (sr.-S/R), Avonte Bell (sr.-SP), Shain Shannon (sr.-T)
Other contributors: Darion Gregory (S/R), John Norton (D), Devin Taylor (S/R),
Outlook: Bell and Wilborn are returning Dream Team selections and were part of Sexton’s area-best 800 relay team.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. St. Johns, 2. Waverly, 3. Mason, 4. Owosso, 5. DeWitt, 6. Haslett
Top athletes: Steven Linton (SJ), Qadir Muhammad (Waverly), Dylan Brooks (Owosso), Shaun LePain (Owosso)
Last year: 5th
Coach: Charlie Otlewski (9th season)
Top returning athletes: Andrew Harris (sr. T), Marvin Williams (sr. S), Dan Sumbal (sr. H), Nick Garnett (sr. D), Colin Brink (jr. S), Andrew Schmidt (so. D), Tyler Goldberg (so. PV), Alec Dunckel (sr. S/LJ)
Other contributors: John Miller (so. S), Wana Mwondela (so. H), Fetsum Habtemariam (jr. D)
Outlook: The Vikings welcome back two all-leaguers in Harris, who qualified for states, and Dunckel. Otlewski feels Haslett needs to get as many points as possible in field events to compete in the league.
Last year: 1st (6-0)
Coach: Eric Haynie (15th season)
Top returning athletes: Foster Whipple (sr. S), Ben Geer (jr. MD), Joe Grunstrom (jr. S), Stone Miller (sr. T), Justin Scavarda (jr. T). Derek Troxell (sr. H), Nathan Hanis (sr. HJ/LJ), Jarrett VanHavel (jr. PV), Caleb Couchenour (sr.)
Other contributors: Josh Houchlei (jr. HJ), Storm Miller (sr. T), Josh Demeray (jr. S)
Outlook: The Bulldogs have a good group of upperclassmen and expect to compete for a sixth straight league title. Geer was a member of last year’s state championship 3,200 relay team. Miller and Scavarda were both all-league in shot put and discus, while VanHavel was a state qualifier in the pole vault.
Last year: t-2nd
Coach: Aaron Gillett (2nd season)
Top returning athletes: Dylan Brooks (sr. H/HJ/MD), Tyler Waterman (sr. T), Shaun LePain (PV/LJ/S), Noah Giraud (sr. MD/D), Zachary Hufnagel (jr. MD), Max LeDuc (jr. D), Jay Michels (so. MD)
Other contributors: Andrew Dallas (fr. D), Zach Roberts (sr. T), Devin Gonzalez (sr. H/MD), Thomas Horak (sr. D)
Outlook: Despite losing several key performers, the Trojans return their core group this season. Gillett says Owosso will have outstanding senior leadership combined with a good group of younger kids. LePain was All-State last season and Brooks, Waterman, Hufnagel and Michels were all-league.
Top returning athletes: Steven Linton (jr.-S), Codey Cook (sr.-D), Josiah Quinn (jr.-D),
Other contributors: Blake Stewart (R), Tanner Motz (R), Tommy Jury (R), Joren Ruhf (R), Matt Ouderkirk (PV), Levi Hayworth (SP)
Outlook: Linton is a returning all-area performer in the 400 for a St. Johns team that is expected to compete for a Red crown.
Last year: t-2nd
Coach: David Pike (25th season)
Top returning athletes: Qadir Muhammad (sr. S/MD), Trestin Mancillas-Finnerty (sr. MD), DaVarie Halliburton (jr. S/LJ), Tommy Herring (jr. S)
Other contributors: Alex Owens (jr. H/HJ), Kye Tackett (so. S/J)
Outlook: The Warriors graduated five all-state athletes from last year’s team, but return a very strong junior class. Muhammad was a state champion in the 1,600 relay and Mancillas-Finnerty placed third at states in the 3,200 relay.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Williamston, 2. Lansing Catholic, 3. Ionia, 4. Eaton Rapids, 5. Fowlerville, 6. Portland
Top athletes: James Cruz (Eaton Rapids), Keenan Rebera (LC), Tyler LaMar (Williamston), Seth Kerby (Williamston)
Last year: 4th (3-3)
Coach: Erik Smith (4th season)
Top returning athletes: James Cruz (sr. S/HJ/R), Brad Mowatt (sr. S/LJ/R), Nathan Flancher (sr. MD), Jake Spencer (sr. D), Taylor Rouse (so. D), Chris Fillwok (sr. H/HJ), Sean Archey (jr. MD)
Top newcomers: Brody Benward (jr. D), Sheldon Holmes (sr. T), Devon Fuller (sr. MD), Mathieu Norcross (fr. D), Joseph Mestemaker (fr. H), Jaelen Miller (so. S/LJ/R)
Outlook: The Greyhounds believe they have a promising lineup with a solid mix of sprinters, middle distance and distance runner. Finding success in the field events will determine whether Eaton Rapids will compete for a league and regional title.
Top contributors: Ryan Goss (S), Nick Gullet (T)
Top contributors: Peter Pelon (MD), Marshal Rademacher (S), Charlie Powell (I)
Outlook: Powell was among the area’s best in the pole vault last year and returns for Ionia.
Last year: 2nd
Coach: Tim Simpson
Top returning athletes: Keenan Rebera (sr. D), Jeffery Lorencen (sr. D), Moses Kone (sr. S), Nick Peters (jr. S/LJ), Jack Peters (sr. R/H/LJ), BJ Myrick (jr. S), Caleb Mayers (sr. T), Teddy Terzian (sr. D), Ben Rashid (so. S)
Other contributors: Tony Palmer (jr. S), Konner Maloney (so. MD/HJ), Ethan Markey (so. D), Kyle Meagher (sr. S)
Outlook: The Cougars return a few accomplished runners in 2015. Rebera is a two-time state champion in the 3,200 and Lorencen finished third in the state meet in the 800. Kone was all-conference last season. Lansing Catholic has the pieces to contend for a the Division 3 state title with a deep squad of potential relay runners. Simpson said Palmer and Meagher are “great” additions, and believes Nick Peters’ ability to run any relay will play a big role in the team’s success.
Last year: t-4th
Coach: Dan Sandborn (42nd season)
Top returning athletes: Emerson Brown (so. LJ/H), Robbie Vrooman (sr. T), Vince Cooper (jr. S), Eric Pasikowski (jr. S), Jalen Simpson (jr. T), Michael Hoppes (sr. S), Lee Schnithzofer (sr. T), Jacob Cairl (jr. HJ/S/LJ), Josh Green (jr. T)
Other contributors: Andrew Browers (fr. LJ/S), Aaron Ramsey (fr. PV), Ryan Ramsey (fr. LJ/S), Ethen Jensen (fr. D), Ethen Parson (fr. PV/H), Kyler Simon (jr. S), Cameron Hindman (fr. MD), Dawson Palme (so. MD), Zach Hicking (so. T), Christen Mullins (so. T)
Outlook: The Raiders only have seven athletes back from last year’s team, and Sandborn cites lack of varsity experience as a concern. He hopes his team improves throughout the season and competes each week.
Last year: 1st
Coach: Mitch Lutzke (2nd season)
Top returning athletes: Tyler LaMar (sr. MD), Hunter Grischke (sr. MD), Tom Dutcher (so. PV/H), Garrett Smith (jr. D), Brady Bastien (sr. S), Maddox Maki (jr. T), Steffan Smalley (jr. S), Brett Schaberg (sr. HJ/S)
Other contributors: Chaz Moore (sr. T), Marshall Farris (sr. T), Seth Kerby (sr. S/J), Nathan Maurer (jr. D)
Outlook: The Hornets have won the CAAC White outright every year since 2004 — except when they tied in 2012. Williamston returns three all-state members in LaMar, Grischke and Smalley. Lutzke says his team is “rebuilding a bit” in distance, but should be strong in the long jump, pole vault and sprint events.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (CMAC)
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Bath, 2. Saranac, 3. Pewamo-Westphalia, 4. Fowler, 5. Laingsburg, 6. Fulton, 7. Potterville, 8. Portland St. Patrick, 9. Dansville
Top athletes: Deontay Walker (Bath), Elliot Carter (Bath), Nathan LaWarre (S), Brendan Klynstra (S), Branden Smith (Saranac), Randy Johnston (Fulton), Kolmarge Harris (Laingsburg), Stanley Fink (P-W)
Last year: 6-3
Coach: Mel Comeau (53rd season)
Top returning athletes: Deontay Walker (sr. S/T), Elliot Carter (jr. S), Branley Mafuza (sr. MD), Zach Green (sr. PV), Elliot Rhyndress (sr. T), Chase Seeyle (sr. HJ), Taurean Resseguie (jr. HJ)
Other contributors: Aimee Mafuza (fr. S), Bev Apphile (so. H), Nick Carrol (jr. H), Jaylen Miller (fr. LJ)
Outlook: Comeau expects the Bees to be near the top of the league. He combines “a lot of talented” underclassmen with his returning seniors.
Coach: Jason Gubeno (10th season)
Top returning athletes: Ben Lober (so. D)
Other contributors: Spencer Anderson (fr.), Derrick Risner (sr.)
Outlook: The Aggies have their smallest team in the last 10 years. Gubeno says his team will be tested to score and place in league meets and MHSAA events.
Last year: 2nd
Coach: Scott Werner (15th season)
Top returning athletes: Caleb Barker (sr.-D), Matthew Schmitt (sr.-S), Jared Smith (so.-S/H), Stanley Fink (sr.-T)
Other contributors: William Fandel (sr.-J/S), Grant Hengesbach (jr.-D), Josh Meyers (jr.-S), Dane Vanells (sr.-T)
Outlook: Werner believes this team is similar to his 2013 group that won a regional title. P-W has balance and is good in several areas and Werner expects his talented team to turn some heads this season.
PORTLAND ST. PATRICK
Last year: 8th (1-7)
Coach: George Rutherford (3rd season)
Top returning athletes: Isaac Brown (jr. MD), Joe Weller (jr. S), Jerrid Pline (so. S), Greg Doll (so. T)
Other contributors: Isaiah smith (fr. S), Blake Wholscheid (so. S), Fischer Klein (jr. T)
Outlook: While they lack runners, Rutherford believes the team’s versatility and willingness to attempt new events could lead to some dual victories.
Last year: 1st
Coach: Eric and Diana Smith (15th season)
Top returning athletes: Branden Smith (jr. D), Brendan Klynstra (D), Nathan LaWarre (sr. S), Aaron Sluiter (sr. MD), Brandon Middaugh (sr. LJ), Hunter Hyde (jr. S), Joe Conley (jr. HJ)
Outlook: The Redskins return seven athletes who were state qualifiers or better from last year’s conference championship team. Smith was all-state in the one-mile, and Klynstra was the regional champ in the two-mile event. LaWarre was the 200-meter dash champion in the CMAC. Saranac has the pieces to defend its conference crown, but coaches believe they do have some holes to fill.
GREATER LANSING ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Stockbridge, 2. Olivet, 3. Leslie, 4. Lakewood, 5. Maple Valley, 6. Perry, 7. Lansing Christian
Last year: 5th
Coach: Jim Hassett (16th season)
Top returning athletes: Noah Caudy (so. H/S), Jacob Rickerd (sr. MD), Cole Rickerd (so. S), Jordan Tooker (jr. S), Griffin Quisenberry (jr. S), Tyler Schrock (so. MD/HJ), Sam Kostanko (so. T), Collin Bustance (so. S), Andrew Hansen-McClellan (so. D)
Other contributors: Tim Sweet (fr. H/S), Christian Kohl (fr. S)
Outlook: With only two seniors on their roster, the Vikings will rely on youth to be competitive in the GLAC. Caudy placed fifth in the 300-meter hurdles at the Division 2 state finals, and Hassett expects him to place even higher this season.
Coach: Owen Anderson (2nd season)
Top returning athletes: Trace Henderson (sr. D), Hunter Block (sr. S/MD), Martin Lang Jr. (sr. S), Andrew Carlock (jr. MD/D), Logan Anderson-Borton (jr. S)
Other contributors: Dawson Block (fr. D), Jacob Blundy (fr. S), Evan MacKay (fr. MD/D), Davis Tebben (fr. D)
Outlook: The Pilgrims are paced by three seniors, including, 2014 state qualifier Trace Henderson. Despite its small size, Lansing Christian has several freshmen that will be a big part of the team’s success. Anderson is pleased with his team’s strong work ethic.
Last year: 7th
Coach: Chuck Bumpus (6th season)
Top returning athletes: Austin Fillmore (sr. D), Nick Ensign (sr. S/T), Alan Baird (so. D), Jake Chapman (so. D), Shane Allen (sr. S)
Other contributors: Austin Cimala (jr. S), Mason Gee-Montgomery (so. S), Kyle Lilley (fr. MD), Kyle Cook (sr. T)
Outlook: The Panthers return Fillmore, who is all-state in track and cross country, and add all-state receiver Cimala to the mix. Baird and Chapman were all-league in cross country, and Bumpus believes things are shaping up well for a GLAC title push.
Last year: 3rd (3-2-1) in Interstate 8
Coach: Tom Sneckenberg (14th season)
Top returning athletes: Tyler Davis (sr. MD), Miles Garn (sr. MD/D), Jack Ripley (sr. S), Sy Barnett (so. HJ/S/LJ), Justin Anderson (so. MD), Ethan Thuma (sr. MD), Justin Holmer (sr. MD), Kyle West (jr. D), Logan Usrey (so. T)
Other contributors: Jared Dewey (sr. LJ/S/MD), Liam Hickey (sr. HJ/H), Jordan Butler (fr. S), Kyle Peterson (so. HJ)
Outlook: Four state qualifiers in Davis, Garn, Ripley and Barnett return for the Orioles. Charlotte looks to thrive in middle distance and distance events. Sneckenberg hopes that his blend of upperclasmen and new faces, mixed with the team’s improvement in field events, will allow his team to make a run at a league title.
Last year: 6th
Coach: Doug Long (31st season)
Top returning athletes: Dylan Kernoham (sr. H), Kenny Ordway (sr. HJ/S), Josh Peckens (jr. MD), Gage Cleveland (jr. D), Isaiah Medina (jr. H), Dakota Pfeiffer (jr. MD), Jack Price (jr. H), Alex Garber (so. LJ/S), Gordon Johnson (sr. D)
Other contributors: Dawson Coats (fr. H/PV), Justin Houska (fr. T), Carson Vincent (fr. LJ/MD)
Outlook: Captains Kernoham, Ordway and Johnson will be pivotal pieces as the Marauders try to compete in the TVC.
Last year: 7th
Coach: Troy Perkins (6th season)
Top returning athletes: Zach Webster (so. J/S), Sam Holmes (sr. T), Hunter Olrich (sr. T)
Other contributors: JaQwan Crockett (jr. J)
Outlook: The Spartans are looking to rebuild this season. With their numbers down, Perkins says his team will need to look at more individual accomplishments this year.
— James L. Edwards III