The first article we did in this series was the Gunnison boys. It just so happens that directly over Monarch Pass from Gunnison is another 3A Boys team very much worth keeping an eye on this fall--Salida.
The Spartans were a very young team last fall with a sprinkling a seniors. This year, Salida will be largely a sophomore team. And, there's a lot to be said for the sophomores they have.
Before we talk about those sophomores, though, let's talk about a junior Salida may or may not have in uniform this fall--Camden Gillis. Gillis was busy on his bike last fall and didn't run cross country until the post season, where he ran 16:10 at Nike Cross Southwest.
Clearly, Salida would like to have him in purple-and-white this fall, but the bike beckons. Stick around to learn what happens with this story. In the meanwhile, chew on the idea that Gillis also ran 4:35 for 1600 meters this spring.
Now, to those sophomores...
Chief among the sophomore threats for Salida this fall is Bean Minor, younger brother of last year's captain, Seth Minor. Minor ran 17:02 at NXR-SW, 17:35 in Colorado, and wasn't too far from qualifying for State in the 3200 this spring with a 10:26.
All that as a freshman.
Minor figures to have an enormous impact on the fortunes of this team as a sophomore.
Next up in the order after Minor is Reilly Stack. If the last name sounds familiar, it should.
Stack's freshman credentials included a 17:35 at NXR-SW, a 17:54 in Colorado, and a 4:51 1600 this spring. Admit it, you'd be delighted with a 4:51 freshman on your roster. Like Minor, Stack only figures to get better.
Based on results from last fall and this spring, Sam Kearley (junior), Frank DeCew, and Jason Joslin figure to fill out the scoring order for Salida. Freshman Isaac Hutchings might also figure on that list, but it's a little early to tell how the incoming freshmen will fit into this roster.
Making all of this a little more troubling is the fact that talent is the fact that there is no recent history of talent languishing on the Salida roster. Kenny Wilcox regularly sees solid year-to-year improvement in his charges. We might get an early glimpse at the progress this team has made since spring at the National High School Trail Championships.
If you didn't notice, there don't project to be any seniors on this year's varsity roster unless, that is, Salida has been hiding somebody out. So, whatever does or doesn't get accomplished this year, next year could be a doozy.