Ryan Matson figures to inherit the role of leader of the pack for the Bears, but can Palmer Ridge extend their magic to another year?
Last year, Palmer Ridge more or less breezed to the 4A Boys crown. It may not be quite as easy this year.
The rankings of returning runners at the bottom of this page suggest a different story. The rankings on the next two pages change the perspective on that story just a little. Each set of rankings has its own story to tell, and it's wise to heed the story told at each step before trying to draw any hard-and-fast conclusions.
Air Academy and Widefield, last year's second and third place teams both have some rebuilding to do. We'll have to watch to see how much they can get done by the end of October. Palmer Ridge graduated plenty but also has a lot of guys groomed and ready for their shot at being the big dogs on the rosters. Silver Creek pretty much brings back the franchise.
So, here's what things look like, starting with the rankings of returning cross country runners:
By Fall, 2016, Cross Country Rankings
Silver Creek jumps out to a solid lead in these rankings, but it's also worth noting that by the end of last fall's season, the wheels on the Silver Creek wagon were getting awfully wobbly. If Silver Creek means to win--and they certainly have the talent to be in the hunt--they must finish better than they did last fall. Palmer Ridge, on the other hand, loses all kinds of leadership from last year's team. And, you can look at rankings all day long, but they don't tell you much about how leadership reforms after a year of massive losses to graduation.
Click on Next to view the rankings by 1600 times.