Gus McIntyre is one of a few runners with big-time potential this fall.
[The Dark Horse is a series I'll be running over the next two weeks. While we know the big name favorites, this series will take a look a little deeper into each class, shining a big spotlight on some of the names who have been lurking in the shadows in previous years, and could likely rise to the ranks of Colorado's elite this fall.]
We know of the names Cole Sprout, Connor Ohlson, and Parker Wolfe, as they've each stepped into the light over the past year, shedding any questions we may have had about their potential. But looking a little further, or deeper, into the boy's 5A competition, we see a few names and teams that have dropped hints of what they're capable of.
The following is a subjective look at a few individuals and teams that I'll currently dub Dark Horses, at least in terms of pre-season.
Editor's Note: The following outlook is based entirely on stats from the 2018 cross country season, and the 2019 outdoor track season. It's likely there are other Dark Horses out there that will rise this fall. Unfortunately my powers do not include the ability to foresee what happens on that quiet trails over the summer.
Gus McIntyre finished sixth at the 2018 State Cross Country Championships in 16:11, which was just six seconds off his Colorado-best of 16:05. Running that fast on one of the tougher courses in Colorado says one thing: he's got some serious strength.
He cracked 16:30 six out of seven times last year, capping his season with a 15:55 PR at Nike Cross Regionals. The PR, however, doesn't exactly shed too much of a light on the sort of potential the Palmer senior has.
He's the No. 5 returner from the 2018 state meet, which includes perhaps the most stacked field in recent history.
McIntyre put together a solid track season with personal bests of 4:26 in the 1,600 and 9:29 in the 3,200. He finished 15th in the 1,600 at State, and fifth in the 3,200, shedding light on his talents in the longer distances.