Rock Canyon has a very real shot here, but it will take big efforts down the line by guys like AJ Bishop to get it done.
I'll go a short distance out on a limb and suggest that this year there just might be more talent in the Continental League meet than any other league meet in the state. You can start with the fact that it's an 11-team league. That's a serious leg up on the competition there.
And, it's a 5A league (with one exception, but it's a large 4A school). And, the focus of cross country power has been gradually shifting southward in recent years. It's not a slam dunk, but you simply can't leave the Continental League out of the conversation like you could not so many years back.
This year's Continental League meet runs at Polson Ranch. With the exception of a few kids who ran here two or three years ago, that's probably a small advantage of league member teams like Rock Canyon, Chaparral, and Douglas County who competed here at the end of September.
But, those advantages vaporize to not very much at all in a hurry, maybe especially so on a three-loop course.
We'll start with boys this time around. As usual, we'll take a look at a virtual meet (through the top 100 individuals), then discuss what the virtual meet reveals (and sometimes does not reveal) below.
Here we go...
Championship Meet - 11 Teams
Championship Meet - 11 Teams Team Scores
|1||Mountain Vista High School||37||4||5||7||10||11||-||-|
|2||Rock Canyon High School||39||1||2||6||8||22||-||-|
|3||Legend High School||96||3||15||20||28||30||-||-|
|4||Heritage High School||105||13||16||19||23||34||-||-|
|5||Chaparral High School||146||21||24||29||32||40||-||-|
|6||Highlands Ranch High School||172||17||25||36||46||48||-||-|
|7||Castle View High School||182||26||27||42||43||44||-||-|
|8||Douglas County High School||187||9||14||35||61||68||-||-|
|10||ThunderRidge High School||247||33||49||52||56||57||-||-|
|11||Ponderosa High School||365||71||72||73||74||75||-||-|
To nobody's surprise, the virtual meet yields a near dead-heat between Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon. Legend and Heritage are rather solidly ensconced in positions 3 and 4. And there a good, solid teams right on down the line.
Nobody in this league has threated Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon all season long. It's difficult to believe that it starts on Wednesday.
Mountain Vista has a history of not running their regular varsity types every week, but they have an even longer history of loading up for the league meet. Figure the latter tendency trumps the former this time around. Look for Mountain Vista to be ready to rumble.
Rock Canyon doesn't take as many weeks off as Mountain Vista, and there's no obvious reason to think they don't join the fight here.
You could be forgiven, however, for wondering if these teams will be going for the jugular against each other for each of the next three weeks. We'll see what happens there.
Behind the two juggernauts, Legend, Heritage, and Chaparral have had nice seasons. Next week is important to all three and nobody wants to stumble before getting to State. There's some premium then on having a good, confidence-boosting showing here on Wednesday.
It's not out of the question, but it will be an uphill climb for any of the other league member schools to advance to State. Those with hopes alive want to give themselves something to build on for next week at this meet.
Individually, this really does seem to come down between Easton Allred and Chris Theodore, though not necessarily in that order.
It gets a lot more interesting when you start thinking about top ten. Landon Rast, Carter Dillon, Parker Mackay, Derek Fearon, and several more are all good candidates for those positions.
You can take a look at the history of all these match-ups using the MileSplit Compare Athletes tool. I've started you off here with a comparison of Carter Dillon vs. Chris Theodore. You can change names, play around, and do the rest.
Carter Dillon vs. Chris Theodore
And, of course, when Mountain Vista comes to the league meet, they come there with more than the varsity team title in view. They aim for a sweep of all three races. There probably isn't much standing in their way right now.
Click on Next for the girls preview.