The Dark Horse: Boys 2A Pre-Season

Ellicott's Jodzuel Juarez could be the next 2A star.

One thing is certain when scanning 2A - there's a ton of potential for more Dark Horses to emerge this season. While a few stood out, there's a lot of room for surprises... 

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.

Jodzuel Juarez

Jodzuel Juarez left no questions as to his intentions last fall. As a freshman he stormed the early miles of the state meet, clearly going for the big W. 

He didn't get it that day (he finished 11th), but the ambitious move proved that he's got his sights set on some big goals. 

He raced a staggering 12 5ks last fall, and of those he cracked 18 11 times - twice he broke 17, which includes a 16:34 personal best. That sort of consistency blended with his aggressive style could be a recipe for success in the coming years. 

He took his consistency to the track last spring, running PRs of 4:43 in the 1,600 and 10:06 in the 3,200. Both PRs came at the state meet, where he finished 12th in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200. 

Clearly, he's more comfortable in longer distances, which hey, that just so happens to be what's on tap this fall - 5ks. 

Noel Lopez

A year ago Rocky Ford's Noel Lopez finished sixth at the state cross country championships in 17:13. Of the nine 5ks he ran, he cracked 18 seven times, including a PR of 16:32. 

Like Juarez, he appears more comfortable in the longer distances.

On the rack he tallied PRs of 4:41 in the 1,600, and 10:04 in the 3,200 - both at the state meet. He finished eighth in the 1,600, and third in the 3,200. 

If you're scrolling up the page a bit to see how Juarez did in comparison - Lopez and Juarez were just seconds apart, or a few places each time they raced at State.

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