On October 20 of last fall, Durango looked like world-beaters, hammering 4A Region 5 with 26 points to 73 for second-place Cheyenne Mountain.
On October 29 of last fall, Durango bore only faint resemblance to the team that had traveled to Colorado Springs nine days earlier and dominated. This time, Durango came away with sixth place--probably a bit below what was expected of this team--and was effectively out of reach of fifth.
This year, Durango has a home regional, so there won't be two trips to Colorado Springs in the course of nine days. That might help.
Madeleine Burns, last year's front runner, is back as a sophomore this year. She has a 5:12 1600 to her credit from this spring. Burns should be an outstanding #1 and probably moves up into the medals at this year's state meet.
Abby Scott comes back for her senior year. Scott's a 2:16/5:19 type on the track and probably figures to improve on last year's 45th-place finish at state cross country.
Durango, frankly, is pretty well set at 1 and 2.
It's 3 through 5 that's likely to tell the story for this team this year.
Kiara Hamlin, a freshman last year, ran third on the state cross country team but saw only limited track action this spring--including apparently none after April 22. Hamlin thus becomes a pivotal member of this year's team. If she has a solid fall, it's a big step in the right direction for the whole team to enjoy a solid fall season.
Bekah Moenning doesn't run anything longer than 800 meters in track, but there's reason to be doggedly optimistic about her prospects for the fall. Most girls who can run 2:21 end up being pretty valuable in cross country as well.
Anna Smagacz, a junior this fall, is another who will counted on. Smagacz ran a blistering 19:19 at Anna Banana last fall, then struggled a bit through the rest of the season. Durango will be looking for Smagacz to build on the promise of last fall's season.
Saylor Stottlemeyer comes back with state meet experience and could be another contributor for the Demons this fall.
The ace in the hole just might be Emma Fitzgerald--if she comes out for cross country, that is. Fitzgerald was a freshman this spring whose track and field claim to fame was a 2:19 800. You can't look at that time and not think of cross country promise. And, being a freshman, you can build a case that maybe she just had no idea she had that kind of talent and thus didn't go out for cross country. I haven't been able to find any stats for her in any other fall sport...
Ruth Holcomb is a tantalizing prospect rising up from last year's middle school ranks. It's possible she cracks the varsity roster for Durango this fall. Whether she becomes a regular scorer or not remains to be seen.
If Durango puts the pieces together this fall, this team could be very, very good. The pieces have not quite yet come fully together, but the potential is definitely there. Watch and see what happens this fall.