Taylor Watson will look to help lift Cherokee Trail to a league title this year.
League Member Teams: Arapahoe, Cherry Creek, Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Mullen, Overland, Smoky Hill
Last Year's League Results: Last year's league meet was a prelude to state, with Grandview taking the league 166-143, beating Cherokee Trail. Cherry Creek took the No. 3 spot with 188 points. Grandview went on to win the 2017 state title in dominating fashion, with 120 points, while Cherokee Trail finished third.
Key Losses to Graduation:
Arapahoe: Allison Marizza
Cherry Creek: Devon Peterson, Avery Paxton
Cherokee Trail: Jordan Herrera, Kayla Ahrens
Eaglecrest: Mariah Gordon
Grandview: Michaela Onyenwere, Brie Oakley, Kennede Brown, Alexis Gregson
Key Returning Athletes:
Where to begin? Some of the state's best athletes have come out of this league in past years, and this year isn't any different. The team race does appear to be much closer this year, on paper at least. Grandview did take a hit to graduation, but they still return a slew of talent, along with Cherokee Trail and Cherry Creek.
In the sprints return a load of top-tier talent. Cherokee Trail's Taylor Watson will battle Overland's Kaivion Lattimore in the 100, while the 200 is stacked.
Watson will likely to the line against Overland's Julyah Wilson, Smoky Hill's Makiya Gayles, Eaglecrest's Fanta Toure, and Cherokee Trail's Jaiden Paris. On a side note, Paris has been storming through the indoor season and looks primed for a big outdoor season.
The 400 could use some of these big names from the 200, otherwise it appears that Grandview's Lily Williams will have the race all to herself. She is the No. 2 returner in the state in the event.
Like the 200, the hurdles have some of the best toeing the line. Paris will battle alongside Cherry Creek's Delaney Smith, and Arapahoe's Hannah Carlson for the 100 hurdle title, while Smith enters the 300 hurdles as the favorite, having won the state title last year. If Smith's got any competition, it'll come from Julyah Wilson, Smoky Hill's Amelia Johannes, and Arapahoe's Mia Middleton.
There's a massive void in the distance events where Grandview's Brie Oakley once dominated, though there looks to be some promising names who could attempt to rise to the occasion of following in her footsteps. In the 800 Grandview's Kaitlyn Mercer enters the season as the No. 2 returner in the state, while Cherry Creek's Jordan McCurdy could offer a challenge. The 1,600 and the 3,200 will see new faces in front of the pack, that's for sure. Arapahoe's Morgan Conn is in the prime position to fill the void, along Grandview's Caroline Robbins, and Mercer.
The field events return some top talent as well.
Grandview's Kylee Harr will look to defend her state title in the high jump, and she'll like to pushed to new heights by teammate Alisha Davis.
The pole vault returns Smoky Hill's Choying Obrien, who could take the event with ease. The jumps will provide a much more intense battle for the win, however.
Harr will look to add the long jump to her resume, though she'll have to get passed Chian DeLoach, Christine Bailey, and Hannah Carlson first. The triple jump looks to be just as entertaining, as Cherokee Trail's Sydnee Larkin returns. Larkin has put together a stellar indoor season, and could threat in the long jump as well. She'll likely have competition from Mariela Hollines, DeLoach, Middleton, and Bailey.
Meanwhile, the throws have their favorites already set, though there could always be a spring surprise. Grandview's Leilah Vigil could take the discus and the shot.