It's not state, but it's nearly as competitive, and perhaps even faster. It's Pre-State, in a way. Liberty Bell is arguably the fastest course in Colorado, and guess what? It's this weekend!
New this year is the addition of "Sweepstakes" races, or a "Championship" race, which is what the Sweepstakes A race is - the best teams from all classifications packed into one race.
A team in the Sweepstakes A race then files their JV in to the Sweepstakes B race, and C team int the C race.
This leaves Divisions 1, 2, and 3, which are everyone else divided based on enrollment size of teams, Division 1 being bigger, and 3 being smaller.
The Beginning of an Era... Sort of.
The wait is over!
Cole Sprout will be toeing the line Saturday morning to open his 2018 season, but not in the Sweepstakes A Race, he'll be racing with Valor Christian in Division 1. It's a season that he holds big ambitions for, so it's likely a cautious move on his part to ease into a season he hopes to extend well into December.
Despite Sprout's absence in the big race, there's a ton of talent set to hit the course in the Sweepstakes A Race.
Niwot's Cruz Culpepper hasn't run a 5k this season - yet, but his 9:58 win at the Vista Nation 2 Mile shows that he's definitely fit. He'll not only have an opportunity to establish himself as the alpha on the course, but he could nab a quick time as well.
And then there's Cherry Creek's Parker Wolfe, who hasn't lost a race this season. The sophomore beat Chaparral's Caleb Ream, who could be in the mix as well. While Rangeview will be competing in Division 1, we'll see Luke Sundberg racing individually in the Sweepstakes A race.
Easton Allred will be racing in Mountain Vista green this weekend, but not in the Sweepstake A race. This creates the unique challenge of keeping an eye on his time, because he'll likely be time-trialing with no competition.
To recap, or clarify... Spectators will have three big individual races to keep an eye on. Culpepper highlights the Sweepstakes A race, Allred the B race, and Sprout the Division 1 race.
While we won't be seeing the Big Three juniors (Sprout, Culpepper, Allred) toe the line together in the same race yet, it's likely that we'll be seeing the trio battle for Colorado dominance in the state, and on the national landscape over the next two years, so this New Era will have to wait, a bit.
In the team competition of the Sweepstakes Race we'll see 5A No. 1 Mountain Vista, and 4A No. 1 Niwot battle another 1.1 miles for the first time this season. Both squads look loaded. We'll be seeing Niwot's front running of Culpepper and Ares Reading verses Mountain Vista's pack. The team race will likely be decided with the 3-5 runners.
And then there's Heritage, who will be running their home course. The 5A No. 3 squad will look to mix it up, along with 4A No.2 Durango, who's been rising through the rankings very quickly, and the fastest-returning squad in Colorado, Centaurus. And I wouldn't sleep on 3A No. 3 Peak to Peak, they've made big gains within the polls lately as well.
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