Mason Howard as one of three seniors who made Simla an intriguing dark-horse candidate for a state title this spring.
At the 1A level, it's rare that a team, any team, has a large cast of seniors on pace to come up big at the state meet. So, the lists of athletes per team are necessarily going to be shorter here. Which is not the same as saying that no team has more than one--as you're about to find out.
Here, then, are the teams that could credibly be thought of as being in the trophy hunt when the season began and the seniors who figured to be able to steer that ship into port. Teams are listed in alphabetical order.
DeBeque - The Dragons have been on something of a run of late, and this spring figured to extend that string of successes. Curiously, though, DeBeque had no seniors this year who figured to be in a strong position to score points at state as individuals. If you're paying attention, what that means is this is a team to be keenly aware of next year.
Eads - Eads has typically played host to some strong track athletes. The only problem at Eads in recent years has been one of numbers. Like DeBeque, though, Eads came into this season with no seniors expected to score at state. So, like DeBeque, the Eagles become a team of greater concern for next year.
Heritage Christian Academy - The Eagles came into this season loaded. Seniors who were expected to be a big part of the green (and maybe yellow, if they kept those singlets around for another run) parade were sprinter/jumper Jaden Johnson, spinter Jathan Rentfrow, distance runner Nick Partain, and thrower Daniel Simmons. That's not exactly the entire nest of Eagles, but this group certainly figured to make a big difference at this year's state meet. The Eagles will be back again next year, but the leadership may be just a bit thinned out next year (although HCA has proven its ability to refill the pipeline).
Kit Carson - Whether it's football, basketball, or track, the Wildcats have been a program of excellence for a few years running. This year's senior class figured as a highly competitive one, including sprinter Joe Bryan, and jumpers Cordell Farmer and Jayden McCombs-Farmer.
McClave - Another eastern plains school. If you don't have a mental image of where McClave is, it's between Lamar and La Junta, but closer to the former. The biggest senior threat the Cardinals were bringing to the track this year was distance runner Mavric Leighty. It's too bad this young man didn't get a shot at cross country; he would have been good. There's also a possibility that thrower Aldon Sniff may have scored at state this spring as well.
Simla - Look no further than sprinter Darias Harms for a reason to count Simla as a serious contender. But Harms was not alone, not even in the senior class at Simla. Add to Harms the presences of middle distance type/jumper Kelsey Montague, and distance runner Mason Howard. The Cubs had a serious cupboard of senior talent this year, enough to be a serious contender for a state title, though not quite the favorite going in. One might say they were loaded for Bear, but that doesn't work so well when Cubs are your mascot.