Mountain Vista Boys XC, 2017

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Carter Dillon was nipping at Joshua Romine's heels this spring. It looks to be Dillon's team to lead this fall.

After four consecutive years of winning state titles, the Mountain Vista boys got bounced from the throne last fall in a tight contest with Monarch (1st) and Rock Canyon (3rd). 

While that may sound to some like a first hint of the demise of the program, that speculation would probably be a bit premature. Mountain Vista figures to be very much in the thick of things once again this fall. 

Parker Mackay missed nearly the whole of the 2016-17 school year, at least from an athletic perspective. If he comes back anything like his former self, Mountain Vista's boys get an enormous lift. Mackay has very definite sub-16 potential and was arguably the key piece in Mountain Vista advancing their boys team to Nike Cross Nationals in 2015.

But, while Mackay has been out of commission, other Mountain Vista guys have been stepping up their game. Carter Dillon has stepped up as the presumptive leader of the team. With Joshua Romine gone, Carter becomes the fastest returning runner. And, Dillon brings a lot of experience with him, most of it gained in the last 11 months. Dillon is a legitimate 4:22/9:39 from track and only figures to get better this fall. 

It's always tough to figure exactly how Mountain Vista is going to fill out their roster. It's not that they lack quality candidates; it's that there are so many of them.

Those with strong cases to make this fall include Caden Foster, Ethan Rouse, Justin Lund, Shayan Zarrin, Cameron Beal, Aaron Hart, Brody Dempsey, and Brian Ma. All are at least sub-4:45, sub-10:20, or better. And, due to Mountain Vista's habit of running a second varsity team at a lot of meets, they all come into the season with some varsity experience. That gives Vista Nation a ridiculous number of ways to inflict pain on their opponents. 

You won't see Mountain Vista's top seven every weekend of the season. And, it may take several weeks into the season to establish a top seven. But, once that seven is settled and the championship season gets underway it's going to take something special to knock them off.

Given that Mountain Vista's stiffest competition probably comes from right across their own district at Rock Canyon High School, we might see some games of cat-and-mouse when it comes down to the final three weeks of league, regional, and state meets.

Mountain Vista has a tradition of trying to take all six team titles at the Continental League meet. They've been pretty successful at that of late. Does Rock Canyon try to mess with that and risk reawakening a giant (or would it be more like striking a huge psychological blow?), or do they lay low, picking and choosing their shots against Vista Nation?

All that, and more, waits to unfold as the season develops.