John Houdeshell showed well as a freshman last fall. He figures as potentially one of the top sophomore talents in the state this fall.
It's been a few years now since Poudre was the first team that came to mind first when high school boys cross country from Fort Collins was the topic of discussion. That could change this fall.
Graduation did a number over at Fort Collins High School, meaning the door is open for another program to assume municipal supremacy. At least for a year.
Though nothing is guaranteed (and you're always playing with fire when trying to unseat Fort Collins from anything), but Poudre could be the team to get that done this fall. This is the team that quietly finished third in last year's Front Range League. That's no small feat. And the team returns almost intact for this year.
The Impalas feature a robust scoring five of senior Bryce Pietenpol, senior Jeremy Harms, senior Bryan Martino, sophomore John Houdeshell, and one of juniors Alex Giglio, Treden Bosch, and Isak Redman as the fifth. Sophomore Mark Tasker could also press for a varsity role.
It's unclear at this point if any incoming freshmen figure to crack varsity, but these seven should be enough to form a dangerous team.
Based on track times from this spring, Pietenpol and Houdeshell look to be the go-to guys for this fall, giving Poudre what figures to be one of the better 1-2 combinations in the state. Pietenpol is the grizzled veteran and Houdeshell the promising fresh new face of the group.
Martino, Giglio, and Harms likely round out the scoring five--or at least that is what is suggested by track times from this spring.
Martino and Pietenpol are 4:30-ish kind of 1600s. Pietenpol, Houdeshell, and Martino all ran sub-10:20 for 3200 meters this spring.
One of the givens of running cross country in and around Fort Collins, though, is that you're likely to be tested every week. And Poudre hasn't been the team under the microscope since before any of the current roster were born.
So, pressure figures as a new thing for this group. How they manage the expectations and opportunity will tell a great deal about how far this team goes this fall. Regardless, the foundation has been laid. It only remains to build on that foundation.