Logan Gullett (Eaton)
The most dangerous thing about freshmen is that they tend to find their legs over the duration of the season, and that was clearly the case for Eaton's Logan Gullett.
He opened his high school career with a 17:50, 14th place finish in the 2A/3A race at the St. Vrain Invitational, though it's how he ran that was perhaps more revealing to what we'd see at State in late October.
Two weeks later he clearly found his stride- he captured his first high school victory at the Beetdigger Invitational. He chopped 38 seconds off his previous best, running 17:12, which was six seconds ahead of Xander Stanton - Stanton finished 17 seconds ahead of Gullett at St. Vrain two weeks earlier.
And still, Gullett still had a curve in front of him.
He went on to finish fifth at the 3A Region 4 championships in a big PR of 16:48. Majeski won that race in 16:03, while Jaden Davis was second in 16:22.
But the (then) freshman saved his best performance for last.
Gullett went on to finish 11th in his first state meet, running 17:13. He was nine seconds behind Davis, and four behind Majeski.
Jacob Crookston (Jefferson Academy)
Jacob Crookston ran between 17:05 and 17:17 five times last fall - that's some legit consistency. And that sort of consistency hinted at what we all saw at State - breakthrough.
Crookston opened his 2019 season with a 17:13, ninth-place finish at the Windjammer Invitational. He backed that up with two consecutive weeks of 17:15 performances.
He finished 17th at the Arvada West Wildcat Invitational in a solid race won by Mason Norman in 15:41. Another (former) 3A stud - Owen Nolan - finished seventh in the race, running 16:33. Additionally Will Scavuzzo finished nine seconds in front of Crookston.
Crookston dropped a big time personal best at the Thornton Cross Country Invitational, running 16:41 to finish 10th. The performance hinted at what he'd do a week later at the 3A Metro League meet.
He finished second to Nolan by 16 seconds, running 16:48. His run was also 16 seconds ahead of Scavuzzo.
Just over two weeks later he captured his first win of the season - claiming the 3A Region 3 championship in 17:05 - a 34-second victory.
With momentum on his side, he went on to finish fifth at State, running 16:51 - 10 seconds off his PR on one of the more difficult courses in the state. The time was 1:01 behind winner Norman, and 23 seconds behind runner-up Nolan.
Sylas Chambers (Frontier Academy)
When you look Sylas Chambers' 2019 season, I see two.
There's the first half, where he ran 17:24 or slower, and then there's the second half, where he nearly broke 17 in Colorado three times.
In other words - he clearly warmed up into the season, found his stride, and went to work.
Chambers opened his season with a 18:30, 16th-place finish in the 3A race at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. Lamar's Branden Davis finished second that day in 17:13.
That was the last race Chambers ran over 18 minutes.
He dropped two races right around the 17:30 mark - a 17:26 finish in Wyoming, and a 17:31 run at the Denver East Angel Invitational. And then he went to work on that 17 minute barrier...
He ran between 17:00 and 17:04 the next three races - a 17-flat at lower elevations at Roy Griak, and a 17:01 (Colorado PR), seventh place finish at 3A Region 4 championships, which were won by Hudson Majeski in 16:03. Chambers' teammate Jaden Davis was second in that race, running 16:22.
While it's not entirely common to PR on the Penrose course, Chambers nearly achieved the feat.
Chambers finished eighth on the right day - State - running 17:04. The time was three seconds behind Branden Davis, and a half-second ahead of his teammate, Jaden Davis.