It looks to be Joshua Krafsur's turn to lead at Fort Collins High School this fall.
Not very long ago, picking Fort Collins to be in the 5A title hunt--either boys or girls--was a lot like predicting the sun would shine in Colorado sometime in June. It didn't exactly qualify as going out on a limb.
That's not as reliable as it once was, but you'd still be making a serious mistake to write off the hopes of Fort Collins too soon.
Last year, the Fort Collins boys floundered a bit toward the end of the season, finished sixth at State, graduated their top two State finishers (plus a third member of the State team), and generally ended the season without a lot of promise for this fall's campaign.
That story changed a bit, however, during the outdoor season. Joshua Krafsur posted a 9:39 3200. James Gregory and Jack Shore both ran 10:15 or better. Cody Larsen, Matthew Boyle, and Eric Crystal all ran sub-11. Michael Van Shaar just missed 11 minutes. William Bush didn't reach that kind of 3200 standard but did run 4:48 in the 1600.
And, apart from the flat ending to the team's season, Krafsur, Gregory, and Shore each found their ways to at least one sub-17 time last fall in cross country.
Evan Bratvold in the #5 returner on the cross country roster from last fall, but had a truncated track season this spring. It's a little dicier trying to pinpoint what his level of contribution will be this fall on account of that.
So, before we even introduce the topic of freshmen, it's clear that Fort Collins has enough firepower to be competitive this fall. Plus, Gregory, Larsen, Bush, and Boyle were all freshmen last year. Typically, the freshman-to-sophomore bump is a pretty good one.
So, there's reason to be hopeful in the circle of Lambkins.
It's hard to say exactly what the freshman class will bring. There's always a ringer or two of an 8th grader coming up in the Fort Collins area, but open enrollment in the Poudre Valley School District's schools makes it very difficult to say who ends up where until they're seen in uniform.
As an interesting side note, however, Gregory, Larsen, and Boyle were each part of the state champion Preston Middle School team from 2015. There are a couple more members of that team who were 7th graders that year and could conceivably be coming up as freshmen this fall. If you see Andrew Crop and Marcus DeLuca on the Fort Collins roster this fall, it won't be the first time they share a starting line with some of the sophomores on the team.