Normally, the glamour meet of this weekend would be the Dave Sanders. The Dave Sanders is an enormous meet and always draws a solid cross-section of teams. And, both of those things are true about the meet once again this year.
But, if power cross country is the game you want to see played, you want to be in Boulder at Viele Lake Park on Saturday morning. Your roster of teams includes: Battle Mountain, Boulder, Broomfield, Centaurus, Dakota Ridge, Denver East, Erie, Fairview, Frederick, Front Range Baptist, Lyons, Monarch, the Mountain Vista A teams, Niwot, Peak to Peak, Pomona, Rock Canyon, Shining Mountain, Silver Creek, Smoky Hill, and Standley Lake.
After giving it much consideration, I'm going with Front Range Baptist for an upset of biblical proportions.
All kidding aside, how did Geo Tam, Nell Rojas, and company piece this conglomeration of top teams together? Even Centaurus, who laid it all on the line in southern California last weekend, is bringing the heavy hitters.
Peak to Peak, though, is giving their usual suspects a rest this weekend. Also resting their varsity regulars after a big effort on Tuesday is Silver Creek.
In 5A Boys circles, Dakota Ridge and Monarch have much on the line. Right now, things seem pretty settled among those reputed to be in the know that Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon go 1-2, though not necessarily in that order. This is an enormous opportunity for Dakota Ridge and Monarch to put an axe to the wood of the presumed lead MV and RC have on the 5A field. At the very least, we finally get to see how Monarch and Dakota Ridge stand with respect to each other.
If they have enough back in their legs from last weekend, Centaurus could give us a very good feel for just how tough this team can be. Momentum is building a mansion in the Warriors' corner right now.
And, let's not forget about Niwot. With the possible exception of Centaurus, Niwot may be the most improved boys team in the state this year.
Switching our attention to the girls, Broomfield just might feel as if they have a score to settle with Mountain Vista after Liberty Bell. If Mountain Vista can hang another defeat on Broomfield of similar proportions here, that could figure as demoralizing for Broomfield. Broomfield will be determined not to let that happen. And, it's a totally different course, but Mountain Vista historically runs very well on more difficult kinds of courses.
Largely ignored in the Colorado girls conversation of late has been Battle Mountain. After two straight weekends of kind of, sort of, but not really putting their best team on the course, Battle Mountain has all of their varsity regulars lining up for this one. And, Naomi Harding is back to at least very close to full speed now. So, if either Broomfield or Mountain Vista gets too wrapped up in pounding on the other, that could potentially let Battle Mountain slip through unnoticed until it's too late to do anything about it.
As a reminder, Battle Mountain is another team that has a long history of doing very well on tougher courses.
At the very least, you can make a strong case that we'll be seeing the top three girls teams in the state in Boulder on Saturday morning. That alone should be worth the price of admission. Oh wait...
That alone should be worth the ordeal of parking in Boulder.
Monarch, Boulder, Fairview, Niwot, Rock Canyon, Centaurus, and Dakota Ridge all boast solid teams, but it's a bit of a shock if any climb into the top three here. Still...
Lost in the glare of the Mountain Vista-Broomfield-Battle Mountain showdown is a 2A showdown between Shining Mountain and Lyons. Shining Mountain is, thus far, this year's surprise girls team in 2A. They have a lot going for them, but Lyons is #1 ranked and a stern test for the (other) Lions. We'll find out here which team has the alpha Lionesses.
Invitationals don't get much grander than this.
Colorado Track XC is sending Bobby Reyes to Boulder for coverage of this one. Ashley Green will be adding his photographic eye to the coverage package.
As an aside, I believe I used to work under the guidance of the namesake character of this meet. Back in the early 70s, I made my modest middle school living (10% of sales at 25 cents per Coke, plus an additional 2% bonus at the end of the season if I worked all the home games) by selling Cokes at University of Colorado football games. I distinctly recall that the person who gave us most of our instructions was a Mr. Patten--a man probably in his 40s or 50s at the time--who had some connection or other with the Boulder Valley Schools. He was an imposing man, someone you didn't set out carelessly to cross. I remarked once to my parents, unaware of the difference in spelling, that the man was aptly named. But, he was fair. And, I have no quarrel with high expectations.
I'd be highly interested to come across confirmation the Pat Patten I worked under those three falls is one and the same Pat Patten for whom this meet is named.