Cross Country Previews 2009: 4A Boys

Niwot's David Perry ranks among the leading contenders to fill the shoes of a brilliant graduated class in 4A boys cross country. Photo by Alan Versaw.


No gender and classification lost more to graduation last year than 4A boys. Of last year’s top ten, only Wheat Ridge’s Scott Fauble returns.

Of course, that makes Scott Fauble an instant favorite for the individual title, but Fauble should see some competition looming over the horizon as soon as the season begins. Runners like Greeley West’s Kody Leach, who just missed medaling last year, will be looking to fill the vacuum left by graduation. And there are plenty to fill that vacuum. Some of those names will be Shawn Dubbs (Woodland Park), Tabor Stevens (Canon City), Chris Ganem (Castle View), Mike Cernoia (Pueblo West), David Perry (Niwot), Mario Gonzalez-Martinez (Battle Mountain), Nick Kadlec (Silver Creek), Ed Cleary (Fossil Ridge), and Gus Waneka (Thompson Valley). And there are more.

4A boys won’t be weak this year, just different.

Team-wise, Niwot, Greeley West, Castle View, and Battle Mountain each have big numbers coming back. All four should figure into contention for the team title, but it will be intriguing to see how Battle Mountain responds to having their third coach in three years.

Heading into the season, Greeley West’s position appears to be the strongest, with six returning runners who went under 17:50 at state. Four of those were under 17:25. Evert Finger, who ran 17:02 at state last fall as a freshman, gives Kody Leach some company at the front of the pack.

Niwot, a team that’s been close for a few years running, answers with David Perry and Alex Paul, both of whom were placers in the state track meet.

For Castle View, Chris Ganem—who enjoyed a brilliant track season—and Mikay Cauble provide more than enough firepower to keep the competition nervous.

Battle Mountain struggled in the distance events at state track, but it’s hard to look at their returning lineup for cross country and dismiss them from consideration.

Last year’s state champion, Falcon, gets the opportunity to prove something this fall. Gone are Wes Rickman, Kevin Johnson, and two others from last year’s remarkable team. Should Falcon return to the circle of the elite this fall, it will be a powerful statement about the quality of the program.

D’Evelyn  and Pueblo West bring both tantalizing possibilities and a few question marks to the table.

Anyone who was around earlier in the decade knows better than to dismiss the D’Evelyn boys from team consideration, but the Jaguars were probably a little disappointed with their showing at state last year. Will this be another year of similar disappointment, or will this be the year that D’Evelyn rekindles the fire?

Pueblo West enjoyed a solid season all through September and early October. Although they were one or two runners short of being a serious contender for a team title, the Cyclones were enjoying their best season ever and gave every indication of being a team on the rise. Like D’Evelyn, however, things fell a little flat for PW at state. With only one runner lost to graduation, this season holds good reason for the Cyclones to believe they can earn some redemption this time around.

If Coach Matt Norton at Thompson Valley can mine the same kind of ore in the boys program that his girls program has been yielding of late, the Eagles just might evolve into a serious contender. Gus Waneka ran 16:47 at state last fall as a freshman and should be the leader of the pack this fall.

Although you have to delve a bit into last year’s standings to find them, one other team with a load of promise heading into the new season is Widefield. Widefield has been a steadily improving program the last two years under Coach Erik Nelson. Nobody graduated from last year’s state team and this could be the year that the Gladiators rise to prominence. The pack time was tight last year and, with a 20 or 30 second drop across the board, this team will raise some eyebrows.