If Salida is to repeat as league champions this year, senior Rebekah Earhart figures as a pivotal piece in that effort.
League Teams: Buena Vista, Colorado Springs Christian, Florence, La Junta, Lamar, Manitou Springs, Salida, St. Mary's, Trinidad, Vanguard (note that James Irwin is part of the league but did not have a track team last year)
Last Year's League Results: Salida narrowly took league honors over cross-county rival Buena Vista last year. Lamar and Colorado Springs Christian were reasonably close in third and fourth. When we shift over to 3A state meet results, Salida easily took league honors with 44 points in sixth, Lamar was in 15th with 17 points, and Colorado Springs Christian was the only other league school with at least 10 points. The Lions tallied 13 points to finish 21st. Buena Vista came up a strong fourth in 2A with 53 points.
Key Losses to Graduation:
Buena Vista: Berlin VanNess, Whitney White, Annie Hughes, Arden Bardol
Colorado Springs Christian: Grace Butler, Julia Ridgway, Grace Skinner, Katelyn Sage
Florence: Journey Short
La Junta: none
Lamar: Cassidy Rigsby, Savannah Tice, Brenna Vallejos, Haley Bender, Emily Ramsay
Manitou Springs: Ali Washington, Naomi Stevens, Alex Riley
Salida: Taryn Ceglowski, Abby Ceglowski, Bari Beasley
St. Mary's: Jackie Delfeld
Buena Vista: Gracie-Faith Johnson
Colorado Springs Christian: Lannan Abbott, Elisabeth Jensen
Florence: Sidney Francis, Carissa Martinez, Josalee Kemp
La Junta: Maria Llaca, Myala Arellano, Janet Olaleye, Antonia Lobato
Lamar: Gyazmin Maestas, Jenn Gomez, Cali Clark, Maddy Williams
Manitou Springs: Sydney Dolloff-Holt, Courtney Brown
Salida: Ruby Brown, Rebekah Earhart, Ashley Leopold, Claire Shepherd
St. Mary's: Hannah McReavy, Ana Muehlbauer
Trinidad: Carlee Garrison
Vanguard: Bria Johnson, Trinity Stevens, Madi Moen, Olivia Wren, Krysten Gard
All of the league's top teams took massive hits to graduation. That makes this year a year of opportunity; nature abhors a vacuum and all that.
For the team that's ready to buckle down and make something of it, a wide-open shot at a league title beckons. It's a little difficult to pick a favorite this early, but my instincts tell me Salida could be in a good position to repeat. But, being in a good position is not the same as being a strong favorite, at least not yet.
For Salida, it will be important to fill some distance holes left by Taryn Ceglowski. The good news is that the Spartans already made some decent movement on that front during cross country season.
Lamar lost a senior class that did a lot for them over the last four years. Can the Savages rebuild with what appears to be a promising sophomore class this year?
Vanguard could turn out to be an important sleeper here. Keep an eye on the Coursers.
One thing sorely lacking in the Tri Peaks League right now is depth. The league doesn't have it as a whole, and no team around the league is swimming in it. Filling out a strong roster across at least of majority of the event areas at any of the league member schools is likely a first and best step toward a league title.