Scenes like this have the Coronado faithful hopeful they could be seeing their team at State.
This one has become an annual bloodbath of a region. Right now, few would dispute that this is the toughest of the 5A regions on the boys side, and it's a very competitive region on the girls side as well. There will be good teams not moving forward to State out of this region. It's just that simple.
After a year in Douglas County, regional action returns this year to Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs.
And, this time we'll start the analysis with the girls:
5A Region 5 Girls
It's difficult to conceive of a scenario where Mountain Vista doesn't win the regional title. Vista Nation has been running well out and ahead of everyone this season. Why would it stop now? Even if Mountain Vista lets off of the gas a little on Thursday, it's not like they don't have plentiful margin to work with.
The interesting questions here concern which teams will follow Mountain Vista into the state meet.
Rock Canyon, a good team that has been getting better as the season goes deeper holds down the #2 position in the virtual meet rankings, and the Jaguars probably deserve to be there.
Highlands Ranch holds down the #3 position in the virtual meet, but it's difficult to know how to read the Falcons' results in recent weeks of the schedule. Is Highlands Ranch playing hide-and-seek or is there something more going on here? We'll find out more on Thursday, but it appears HR could be vulnerable based on what we've seen the last couple of weeks.
Douglas County is another team accumulating a few question marks. Did DC simply lay off the gas pedal at the league meet (and some previous to that, as well) or are the Huskies struggling to keep things afloat? Don't expect a clear answer until Thursday.
With question marks surrounding HR and DC, a lot of teams down the line have to be liking their chances.
One of those teams is Coronado. The Cougars are fresh off a very solid showing at the CSML meet and appear to be hitting their stride at just the right point of the season to advance to State.
Rampart runs even with Coronado in a virtual meet but will need to bounce back from a sound beating at the hands of Coronado at last week's league meet.
Chaparral gets a lift with freshman Cassidy Hickey showing up on the varsity roster, but the Wolverines have a lot of ground to close to make it to State. Other teams around the region are in a tougher position still.
The individual title could easily come down between three girls in green. Jenna Fitzsimmons counts as the most likely of the three, but Sarah O'Sullivan and Caroline Eck were close behind at the league meet. The scenario of Fitzsimmons, Eck, and O'Sullivan--in some order--going 1-2-3 at regionals doesn't seem far-fetched at all.
A Mountain Vista perfect score is not out of the question.
Individual qualifiers will hinge a lot on what teams make it to the dance. It is doubtful, however, that there are any individual qualifiers from teams not already mentioned. Castle View's Erin Kraus would be the most likely of that group, in any case.
If Highlands Ranch doesn't make it, Katie Ellis is a strong individual candidate. If Douglas County doesn't make it, Lina Corrales is a strong candidate, provided her league meet finish can be counted as an anomaly.
If Coronado doesn't make it, Chloe Cassens counts as a likely individual to qualify for State. If Rampart doesn't make it, Kyla Ramsey is a top candidate to advance to State. If Chaparral doesn't make it, it would be easy to see Cassidy Hickey advancing.
There is much remaining to be settled here.
Click on Next for the 5A Region 5 boys preview.