Arvada West Girls XC, 2017

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Civianna Gallegos is a leading member of a senior class for Arvada West that has a real chance to write some program history this fall.

Admit it, up until sometime last year, you thought of Arvada West as primarily a boys program and only secondarily a girls program. Maybe you still think of them that way.

If so, it's time to change your way of thinking. Arguably, Arvada West should be one of the top six or eight girls programs in the state, any classification, this fall. How high on that ladder is a story yet to be told. 

It's a deeply experienced team now, and one without a clear, easily defined front runner. On this team--at least on the course--it's leadership by committee. And a very good committee it is.

It's also leadership by senior class. Civianna Gallegos, Amber Valdez, Claire Pauley, Katie Doucette, and Lucy Schroeder are all seniors. Emily Burg, Maya Fairchild, and Sadie Haymond each have at least one year left after this year, but all have been around the course a time or two even so. Among this group there's certainly the experience and maturity to help bring along a freshman phenom or two, if one happens to come their way this fall.

Honestly, Arvada West is about due for a freshman phenom. That's not something they've seen a lot of; they mostly bring their program along the old-fashioned way. That means taking raw talent without much background in running and developing it into something that can eventually run with the big dogs of 5A girls. 

Claire Pauley had the top 1600 and 3200 times from this spring and may emerge as this fall's leader of the pack--as much as this time will have that kind of person. But Civianna Gallegos has done well at longer distances and is a solid candidate for that role as well. Actually, it's probably not a bad thing to have the two pushing each other just a bit, anyway.

Anyone who's been around the Arvada West program, even casually, the last few years knows that Todd and Della Moore do a solid and enthusiastic job of coaching. The success of the Wildcats in recent years, and on a time that had a long history of being a middling sort of presence in Jeffco 5A, speaks volumes about what they accomplish on the coaching front. 

Historically, Arvada West has veered a little away from a highly competitive early schedule. You don't find them at Liberty Bell, St. Vrain, or a few other high-end early meets. They do, however, tend to show up for Dave Sanders and Pat Amato, and those meets might be great opportunities for other 5A programs to get an accurate read on how strong this team will be this fall. 

The scheduling formula they've used to date has worked well, and moving to an earlier higher-end scheduling philosophy is not without risks. If they stay with the plan they've been using and stay healthy, they're going to win a lot of meets this fall.