At the beginning of the season, this appeared to be Palmer Ridge's state title to lose. That's changed a little. Right now, another Ridge is in the driver's seat. For the moment, honestly, the view is better from Vista Ridge.
Some lead paragraphs very nearly write themselves.
Vista Ridge does take an advantaged position into the state meet, but this thing is far from over. One of the issues here is the weather. Weather affects mindsets, and mindsets affect every event. And Vista Ridge's advantage over Palmer Ridge, Silver Creek, and Mountain View is not yet decisive.
Vista Ridge and Palmer Ridge have almost no strengths in common and will only rarely being competing directly against each other for the same pile of points. The triple jump appears to be the one event where both VR and PR both go after the same pile of points.
It isn't too much different with Silver Creek. Silver Creek is largely distance and throws, meaning VR and SC really only get after the same pile of points in the shot put.
Mountain View? There point total hinges almost entirely on Luke Gordley and Nolan Kembel. And, anything other than first or second place for these guys is bleeding points. It's difficult to see how the Mountain Lions come out much better than their virtual meet projection. As such, Mountain View needs the other top contenders to crumble a little to be first-place kind of successful.
One place where Mountain View could be particularly vulnerable is the 300 meter hurdles. A virtual meet has them going 1-2 there, but Aaron McCoy might have different ideas about that. If McCoy takes the win (as he did last year, also in upset fashion), that's a minimum of three points of bleeding for Mountain View right there.
Kembel projects to second in the 200, but margins are tight enough there Mountain View could easily gain or lose a couple points in that event. Perhaps to help keep life in his legs to the end of the meet, Mountain View scratched Kembel in the 400 in favor of other--mostly shorter--events. We don't see the 4x400 relay composition, but Kembel should figure there.
Vista Ridge's primary point of vulnerability lies in the relays. Taken as a whole, VR's sprint relays are the best in the classification. But, one muffed stick and all that advantage goes away in an instant. And, technical events like the high jump and triple jump will have the VR folks holding their breath until they turn, well, a pale shade of blue.
Palmer Ridge needs to refind some mojo. The distance types that started the season so well haven't had things going their way much this month. You don't want to write the Bears off too soon, but they need to awaken from their slumber. Another big question in the PR camp concerns Brandon Pappas. Will we see the Brandon Pappas of 2016 at this year's state meet? If so, things suddenly get a lot brighter for PR. If not, this could be a struggle.
Silver Creek's virtual state meet looks, in some respects, a lot like Mountain View's. The Raptors have some serious first-place rankings to hold onto. If they can, great. But, if they can't, title hopes could be gone in a hurry. There is much weight on the shoulders of Brock Knechtel and James Lee entering this weekend.
There's a long list of epic showdowns coming this weekend, to include:
- Nolan Kembel, Christian Cumber, and Frank Nash in the 100. If TeRae Johnson can join them, so much the better, but Johnson is, at best, rusty.
- Nolan Kembel and Nik Chappee in the 400. Chappee has seed time advantage in his corner. Kembel has greater consistency in his corner.
- James Lee and Weston Donati-Leach in the 800. If Brandon Pappas is at 100%, he can certainly threaten for this title as well though his seed mark is sitting back at #7.
- Nolan Kembel, Luke Gordley, and Aaron McCoy in the 300 hurdles. We already mentioned this one. It was worth bringing up again.
- Palmer Ridge versus Silver Creek in the 4x800. Forget about that 16-second difference in seed times. That's not happening on Thursday.
- Zaccre Kenward and Gift Chinda in the triple jump. And don't forget Chinda would love to finish this year better than the conclusion last year came to.
- Frank Nash and Raymon Harper in the long jump. Right now, Nash has one meet of great jumps. Harper has a few more. Can Nash replicate the Pueblo Twilight experience?
- Brock Knechtel and Nathaniel Miller in the throws. Both throws. Both throwers have been on fire lately.