It's not nearly the biggest meet of the weekend, but it just might get the most attention. It's not even a 5K, yet it will still get the most attention.
And, Colorado Track XC will have Jeff Bliven on site to tell the story and grab a few interviews from the day's action.
The teams making the trip to Highlands Ranch include Palmer Ridge, Niwot, Silver Creek, Pomona, Rock Canyon, Discovery Canyon, Dakota Ridge, Peak to Peak, Denver South, and, of course, Mountain Vista.
It's a little early to say exactly who is running for whom yet, but you may rest assured that a very large percentage of Colorado's top individuals will be taking the course for two miles of mayhem. You already know that a very large percentage of Colorado's top teams will be there.
I'm not sure how badly the Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon boys want to start knocking heads while it's still August, but you can be sure there will be some measuring going on. Mountain Vista wants no part of Rock Canyon having any psychological advantage. Rock Canyon wants no part of feeling like they're not quite a match for Mountain Vista. All that has implications for how these teams come out and compete on Friday.
So, no matter how coaches might try to downplay this thing, their teams can't help but engage in a little psychological warfare when everyone toes the line.
All that we just said about Rock Canyon and Mountain Vista goes for Palmer Ridge and Silver Creek as well. And, what if Discovery Canyon chooses this meet to make a statement? Then what?
It's interesting on the girls side of things, just not quite as interesting as with the boys.
Mountain Vista, by any objective standard, is the top team coming in. Peak to Peak, though, would love to put a dent in that armor. Palmer Ridge would love to cement their standing as a legitimate 4A Girls contender. All that to say, the girls don't get into and out of this meet without some psychological risk of their own.
The trouble with being a team everyone else knows is a good team is that you can never quite be indifferent to appearances. It messes with the psyche of a great team to take one on the chin--even if the game plan has little or nothing to do with winning the meet.
So, figure that every team has something on the line Friday, and especially so the teams that haunt the higher reaches of the rankings.
Individually, Chris Theodore and Quinn McConnell get a chance to defend their meet titles from last year. Parker Mackay ran a second behind Theodore here last year and then missed most of the rest of the season--and track season as well. Mackay might have some restless thoughts on his mind when the gun goes off on Friday.
There will be a few notable freshmen--mostly females--in Friday's fields. This is kind of a big stage to start out on, but if you're going to go big, you eventually have to start big somewhere. This might as well be the place.