5 BOLD Predictions for the 2021 Heartland Team Regionals


Heartland Team Regionalsis back for the first time since 2019, but with a twist. There will be no Team Nationals this season, so the 2021 Team Cross Nationals Heartland Regional meet will only be a battle for regional supremacy in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. 

You never know what is going to happen at a regional meet like this, especially since most of the teams and individuals have not competed against each other all season. Those who did compete against each other were at the Roy Griak, and that was over six weeks ago. A lot can change in six weeks. 

So without further ago, let's get on to our BOLD predictions. 

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Clarkson after finishing 3rd in the Rising Stars Race in 2019

Sawyer Clarkson will Win the Boys Championship Race

With 10 straight wins this season and recently being crowned the Class A state champion in South Dakota, Clarkson is coming in with an untarnished record this season and will run at Heartland in his home state, with the biggest race of the season on the line.

He is the owner of the best time in South Dakota this season with a 15:17.61, which equates to the fifth-best time in the Heartland field. This season he has beaten the best the Sioux City North has to offer and has beat Alabama commit and fellow Heartland hopeful Carter Waters

He has blown away the field multiple times this season and is used to being the front runner. In his ten races this season, he has won by 1:16 on average, with his closest race being at the Augie Twilight beating Andrew Hauser by 13 seconds. 

He will champion his win streak, and his front runner mentality, to overcome the rest of the field en route to a Heartland title. 

Sydney Drevlow Will Beat Ali Weimer for the First Time 

Three times thus far this season Sydney Drevlow and Ali Weimer have raced each other. At the St. Olaf High School Showcase, the Lake Conference Championships, and in the Class AAA girls race at the MSHSL State Championships. 

The average margin of victory for Weimer in those races was 15 seconds, with an 8-second margin of victory at St. Olaf being the closest race between the two this season. So why do we think Drevlow will beat Weimer at Heartland?

It's because of the consistency of Drevlow this season, and because they are closer together talent-wise than it appears on the surface. Weimer has a personal best time this season of 17:17.90, but discount that in her average 5K time this season and just 4 seconds separate Weimer and Drevlow this season. 

Amazingly, Drevlow has never beat Weimer in the ten cross country races they have faced off against each other since Drevlows 8th grade season. Both Weimer and Drevlow have been the best runners in Minnesota this season, and therefore two of the best in the Heartland region. 

We project a close finish between the two girls, with Drevlow beating out Weimer by just a couple of seconds. She will use her 2:11 800m speed, to hold her off, and beat Weimer for the first time. 

Millward West Will Score the Fewest Points of Any Boys Championship Team Since 2015

In 2015, the Hopkins boys scored a minuscule 71 points to win the Boys Championship over Edina by a dominant 64 points. No team has come quite that close to that level of domination since, but we think the Millard West boys might be the team to challenge that mark. 

Perhaps no team in the Heartland Region is as dangerous as Millard West. The regular season ended in a bit of a disappointment for the Wildcats as they fell by three points to Fremont at the 1A Nebraska State Championships after off days from a couple of their top runners. But Millard West also achieved something at Districts that is borderline unfathomable... a zero-second spread (at a State-qualifying race, mind you). Their entire top five finished with a time of 17:05. It is a microcosm of the talent displayed throughout a year in which MS50 tenth-ranked Valor Christian out of Colorado was the only team to finish ahead of Millard West until State. 

Though they recently lost the Nebraska state title after a very off day for their team, the Millward West boys will look to regain their glory, and Heartland is the perfect opportunity for that. They have had a very strong season, which was highlighted by their win at the Heartland Classic against Fremont, Sioux City North, and Dowling Catholic. 

Millard West High School (NE)
1) Sam Kirchner15:29.603
2) Piercze Marshall15:50.406
3) Cole Haith15:53.007
4) Seth Fey16:02.2013
5) Jack Witte16:17.5018
Average Time: 15:54.54 Total Time: 1:19:32.70 1-5 Split: 47.90
6) Porter Bickley16:27.8028
7) Joey Hartnett16:31.6032

Overall they ranked as the top team in Nebraska this season, and come into the meet as our projected runner-up finisher, but we think they can eclipse that, and more. 

At the 2015 NXR Heartland regional, Hopkins placed their runners 7th, 9th, 10th, 20th, and 25th among the eligible scoring runners. Overall in that race, the Hopkins boys averaged 15:45 with an 18-second split.  This is very similar to how Millard West performed at the Heartland Classic where they averaged 16:02, with a 42-second split. With their zero-second spread at their district championships, we know Millard West can run a better split, and on a fast Heartland course, we know they have the potential to run closer to Hopkins 15:45 average from 2015.

Another Bosley Family Member Will Finish Top-Five at Heartland

Drew Bosley is a two-time Heartland champion, winning the titles in 2017 and 2018, to go along with his 6th place finish there in 2016. Bosley is one of the best runners to ever come out of Wisconsin, and now his younger brother, Owen Bosley, is trying to follow in his footsteps.

Owen has a seasonal best time of 15:07 from the Arrowhead Invitational, which currently ranks as the 2nd best time in Wisconsin this season and the 2nd best time in the Heartland field. He hasn't run in at Heartland before, but over the past few years, he has quietly become one of the best runners in the Heartland region.

2021 - CC

5000 Meter Run

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We think he will notch a top-five finish and follow in his brother's footsteps, in becoming a Heartland standout, because of his speed and talent. He has the 7th fastest average 5K time in the field this season at 15:41.90 and will look to surprise everyone in the field, as he hasn't raced against anyone else in the field this season. 

Minnetonka Girls Will Win NXR Heartland After Missing Out on State

One of the top girl's teams in Minnesota and the MileSplit50 pre-season ranked #3 team has had quite the odd season. Just before the season began, they lost #1 runner Maya Mor to injury, but then went on to go undefeated as a team, up until their section meet. At Sections, they were upset by both Edina and Prior Lake, en route to missing out on qualifying for the state meet. 

The Minnetonka girls will look to come back from that section upset at Heartland, where they currently project to finish 4th overall. They have the depth to beat any team at Heartland, but it will be up to their top runners, Ella Graham and Avery Marasco-Johnson, to propel the team to a win or a top-three finish. 

We know they can beat elite competition as they have repeatedly beaten all the elite competition in Minnesota, in Edina and Wayzata, and they have also beaten Heartland contenders Sioux Falls O'Gormna at the Heartland Preview meet. 

Minnetonka High School (MN)
1) Ella Graham18:28.5019
2) Avery Marasco-Johnson18:39.7027
3) Claire Cashman18:56.8049
4) Abby Downin18:57.1351
5) Elizabeth Weider19:02.3065
Average Time: 18:48.89 Total Time: 1:34:04.43 1-5 Split: 33.80
6) Kate LeBlanc19:03.0067
7) Kyra Martin19:30.50127

They have the talent, depth, and experience to beat out any team at the 2021 Heartland regional. Between their top six runners, they have collectively run the Heartland regional seven times, and they all ran the course this season at the Heartland Preview. 

After missing out on the MSHSL state meet, they will look to regain their early-season success, en route to a Heartland regional title.