Connor Ohlson could be a vital piece to Dakota Ridge's chance of claiming a team state title.
What if the state meet were tomorrow? And what if it was entirely decided on last year's results (and with updated classifications)?
Well, this is what it would look like...
With Valor Christian moving into 5A, Cole Sprout would be your 2018 cross country state champion - and not by much. Again, using last year's results to predict this year's result, Dakota Ridge's Austin Vancil would be four seconds behind Sprout.
Heading into the imaginary, this sounds like a race that would be decided just after the creek crossing, on the final hill, where Sprout would pull away, just enough to win.
With Easton Allred sidelined for the season, the team race looks a little different.
On paper Dakota Ridge is the team to beat. They would have an impressive 1-2 punch with Vancil and Connor Ohlson, who return as 2-3 overall. As a team they'd have their entire top four in the top 22. Could Vancil pull off the upset and take the individual title, and lead Dakota Ridge to the team title?
We'll know in a few months...
Behind Dakota Ridge, the team race looks wide open. I wouldn't be so quick to count out the usual cast of favorites, however, because teams like Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon have a creative way of reinventing themselves each year. Who will step in to the very large shoes that were left vacant by seniors? We'll know in a few months...
Among the dark horse teams that would may a splash in Colorado Springs this October, I'd keep an eye on Boulder, Chaparral, and Heritage. Each squad has a solid 1-2, if they can find a steady 3-4 they could be a real threat this season.