Faith Novess is the top returner in four events.
When looking ahead at 2019, it's a lot like looking into a mirror, because the team race looks eerily similar. Shining Mountain Waldorf took the 2018 team title, and they're likely to defend their title next year. They return the best squad among their 1A competition. This year's runner-up, Springfield, take a hit to graduation, opening the door for Holly and Heritage Christian to battle it out for podium spots.
Returning in the sprints are a slew of sophomores, led by Reece Unruh. Unruh was the runner-up this year as a freshman, and is the favorite to take the title next year.
The 200 is where the name Faith Novess pops up for the first time. She's the defending state champion in the event, and she's likely to add a few more titles to her name as a senior.
Likewise, Benisa Ellis is defending state champion in the 400, and most likely to run away with the title next year. She's got a clear second on the field.
Speaking of freshmen making their mark on the state, Kobie Beanland is the top returner in the 800, and will be a sophomore in 2019. She could claim the first of three consecutive titles in the event next year.
The distance events are where we see our first real hit due to graduation. Emma Schaefer dominated the 1,600 and 3,200 this year, but next year we'll see a new champion crowned. The most likely candidates in the 1,600 and 3,200 are Abby Leuchten and Olivia Jabari. The Shining Waldorf duo could sweep the distance events, giving their team much-needed points.
In the hurdles the woman to beat is Faith Novess, again. She won 100 and 300 hurdles this year, making her the clear favorite to claim the titles next year.
While three state titles next year already sounds insane, Novess may actually claim a few more, as she's the favorite in the high jump as well. She was third this year, but is the top returner due to graduation.
On the other side of the spectrum the long jump looks to be a closely contested event. Julia Mondragon is the top returner, but not by much. She'll have to battle with MaKayla Baker, and sophomore Avery Palmgren for the title. Baker and Palmgren were one inch behind Mondragon at the state meet this year.
The triple jump is an area where schools moving up or down in classifications will show it self. Claire Carlson
is the 1A returner from this year, though she'll have to battle Brooke Mertens
, who's coming down from 2A. Both girls went over 32 feet at this year's state meet.
In the pole vault Kyler Sweat
is the top returner, though she'll have her hands full with Andrea Kuntz
, who competed at state for the first time this year, and was just three inches behind her.
The throws will see two new state champions crowned, as graduation cleared out the top of the podium. Makenzie Watts
is the most likely to claim the discus, while Ryely Smartt
is the favorite in the shot put.
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