The idea of this article is to take a look at how a virtual meet of returning athletes from the 2015 season compares with the state meet results of the 2016 season.
All sorts of things factor into this. This is about improvement, but it's not only about improvement. Besides improvement, things that can impact a team's standing from one year to the next are move-ins, move-outs, injuries, incoming freshmen, and athletes who decide not to come out the next year.
Still, it's interesting to take a look at how things shift from one year to the next. The first table you see below lists the top 20 5A Boys teams at the end of 2015 based on a virtual meet of top marks. Note that this virtual meet only scores eight deep and does not include relays. As such it's not going to provide a perfect comparison to the 2016 state meet results, but it does provide a window:
Boys - Team Rankings - 14 Events Scored
1) Broomfield High School 50 2) Regis Jesuit 41
3) Fountain-Fort Carson Hig 36 4) Chaparral High School 30
5) Pomona High School 28 6) Monarch High School 24
7) Lakewood High School 23 8) Rocky Mountain High Scho 22
9) Cherry Creek High School 20 10) Rampart High School 18
11) Loveland High School 17 12) Grandview High School 17
13) Denver East High School 16 14) ThunderRidge High School 15
15) Fruita Monument High Sch 15 16) Bear Creek High School 14
17) Palmer High School 14 18) Mountain Range High Scho 13
19) Arapahoe High School 12 20) Fort Collins High School 11
And, now, a glance at how 5A Boys actually finished this May:
Men - 5A - Team Rankings - 18 Events Scored =============================================================================== 1) Pomona 94.50 2) Fountain-Ft. Carson 79 3) Hinkley 39 4) Broomfield 37 5) Regis Jesuit 35.50 6) Cherry Creek 35 7) Monarch 31.50 8) Cherokee Trail 31 9) Poudre 30 10) Mountain Vista 28 10) Rangeview 28 12) Arapahoe 27 13) Denver East 23 13) Palmer 23 15) Fort Collins 22 16) Fruita Monument 21 17) Rampart 20 18) ThunderRidge 18 19) Chaparral 17 20) Ralston Valley 16
While a case can be made for eventual state champion Pomona as your most improved team from 2015 to 2016, the Panthers aren't the only team you want to look at. Also making strong cases are Hinkley (outside the top 20 based on returning athletes to third place), Cherokee Trail, Poudre, Rangeview, and Mountain Vista (each moving from outside to to 20 to top ten places).
It's tough to argue, however, with nowhere-in-sight to third place. Hinkley has emerged as a bona fide power program on the landscape of 5A track and field here in Colorado. Look for more to come from the Thunderbirds in years to come. There is no looking past this program any longer.