Area cross country teams will be hitting three courses over the next three days with the intent on qualifying for the state finals.
Several area teams and individuals will be looking to make headlines at regionals.
The action begins Thursday with a Division 2 meet at Chippewa Hills in Remus.
Freshmen Summer Brower and Nadia Grierson led the Lake 8 champion Ludington Orioles into the girls meet. The Orioles are a leading contender to qualify for state.
Boys teams vying for the top spots include Fremont, Ludington, Grant, Newaygo and Whitehall. Manistee also will be in the mix.
CSAA Gold champion Fremont could play the spoiler role for the Manistee boys, winners of the Lakes 8 title. The meet is expected to be highly competitive.
Other local teams in the competition include Grant, Newaygo and Whitehall.
In Division 3, the girls from Hart will be looking to win its fifth straight regional title in Saturday’s meet at Benzie Central. The Pirates also are the defending state champions and bring back a strong nucleus of runners from that team.
The Pirate boys finished as the state runner-up a year ago. Other local teams include Hesperia, Mason County Central and Shelby.
Benzie also hosts the Division 4 regional where Mason County Eastern has a solid chance to qualify for the state finals.
The Western Michigan D League champions possess the depth to make a run with senior Eli Shoup and junior Nate Wing leading the boys, and freshman Lucy Shoup and sophomore Olivia Wing pacing the girls. Pentwater and Walkerville are the other area teams competing.
At Allendale, the Division 2 regional is Saturday and will feature the Spring Lake Lakers in both the boys and girls races. Senior Ian Hill and junior Lily Parker, respectively, are expected to lead the Lakers. Fruitport, Oakridge and Orchard View are the other area teams competing.
The Division 1 regional also is at Allendale. Reeths-Puffer is expected to be near the top of the standings. Senior Klay Grant will be near the front of the boys race for the Rockets while senior Grace Lockhart leads the girls. Also competing are Grand Haven, Muskegon and Mona Shores.
Kent City is among the favorites in the Division 3 race at Allendale on Saturday. Leading the way are sophomore Samuel Martini in the boys’ race and sophomore Miranda McNeil for the girls. Montague, North Muskegon and Ravenna also at the meet.
Western Michigan Christian hopes to make a solid run at qualifying for state behind senior leader Abby VanderKooi, who is ranked third nationally and riding a hot streak, in the Division 4 meet. WMC also has depth at the top in junior Brianna Zuidema and senior Ava Rotman. The meet also is being run at Allendale.
Other area teams in the field include Fruitport Calvary Christian, Holton and Muskegon Catholic.