TRAVERSE CITY — When Traverse City Central athletic director Cody Inglis applied to host four cross country regionals here, he had one site in mind that could handle the volume.
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
“When we approached Resort officials they were fired up about it,” Inglis said.
On Saturday, Central and the Resort will partner in welcoming 122 teams and about 850 runners in what will be a first in northern Michigan — a day-long cross country regional event that brings together all four divisions.
Benzie Central previously hosted regionals for Divisions II, III and IV, but this will be the first time a Division I regional has been held in the north.
“We jumped at the chance when the MHSAA said to us, ‘Hey, we would like to give you the opportunity if you want because you’ve always had to travel for regionals,’” Inglis said.
Most of the course will be on Spruce Run, one of three golf courses at the Resort. The start and finish lines are off Lautner Road.
Paul Galligan, director of golf courses and ground maintenance at the Resort, started laying out the initial course a year ago. Galligan has a son who ran cross country at Elk Rapids and Kalamazoo College — and he’s observed races on golf courses — so he had an idea what was needed.
Galligan said once the event was secured, he met with Inglis and took him on a tour of his proposed layout.
“I said, ‘This is what we can provide. Will it work?’” Galligan recalled.
“I still remember that cold golf cart ride last November,” Inglis said. “Paul had a tentative course, what he was thinking. Since then, Paul has worked closely with John (Central boys coach John Lober) and Lisa (girls coach Lisa Taylor) in tightening up that course, changing some things, using some natural barriers. It’s a beautiful course.