Yesterday, we did 3A Girls. That makes today time for 3A Boys.
Back in 2019, Lutheran was more or less alone at the top of the pile. The Lions finished 26.5 points ahead of second-place Denver West.
Denver West doesn't appear on this year's radar screen, but Lutheran is still in the hunt. They just won't be a prohibitive favorite--in fact, not even the favorite--this year.
Let's take a look at what the season has told us, so far.
If you're picking a single favorite to win the team title, you should probably land on these guys. Technically, Resurrection is a play-up in this year's 3A track and field classification, but that doesn't seem to have handicapped them much.
The big dude for Resurrection is Braycen Buxman. He ended the season with the #1 seed in the 100, the #2 seed in the 200, and the #1 seed in the 400. Read the next sentence very carefully. Buxman is not entered in the 400 at state. The way I read the signs there is that Resurrection intends to lock and load two relays. Take your pick of any two of the 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400--or show up at state and find out which relay direction the Cougars are headed.
It's a gutsy move to withdraw the #1 400 seed, but I'm the last one to tell you it won't pay off.
Holden Tatman is a stalwart in the throws--the #2 seed in the discus and the #3 seed in the shot put. Jack VanDeList moves up to the #2 seed in the 400 on account of Buxman's absence (and probably ranks as one of the big reasons that Resurrection felt they could afford to pull Buxman from the 400. Preston Fagerlin is the top seed in the 800 and the #2 seed in the 1600.
After that, the Cougars hope to get it done on relays. Two of the three sprint relays should be solid. The third might be a prelims-and-out kind of affair. Resurrection has no 4x800 entry. Fagerlin has only the 800 and 1600 to occupy his mind between now and Saturday.
Digging down a little, Resurrection would welcome any points that Caleb Sutter (800), Grant Applebee (TJ), Kamden Norgren (300H), and Tre Garcia (100H, 300H) can generate, but, in each case, their seed marks say they're not projected for points.
If you score the seeds, Resurrection Christian wins the state title, but it's far from a done deal.
The Classical Academy
Scoring the state seeds puts The Classical Academy in second. But, there are some caveats with TCA as well.
The Titans have entered Drew Morton, their top sprinter, in each of the 100, 200, and 400. That means the Titans can use Morton's services on only one relay (to be determined--or at least I don't know which one right now, which means you won't either until the relays take the track at state). TCA doesn't project for many relay points even so, but leaving Morton off two of three sprint relays makes TCA's chances in those relays very slim.
Where TCA needs to overachieve a little, if they mean to win, is perhaps especially in the distance events. Matthew Edwards, Chandler Wilburn, and Nathaniel Brim are entered in two events each. Plus, add in Brennan Pieper in the 800. But, together, they project--based on seeds--to score a scant 11 points. Bumping that total to something between 15 and 20 is conceivable and would provide an enormous boost to the Titan title hopes. Those guys also have a #1 seed in the 4x800 to defend on Thursday.
Going to the rings, Mitchell Anderson has a #2 seed in the shot put and a #3 seed in the discus. Note that that is the mirror image of Holden Tatman's seeds. If Anderson and Tatman split points evenly, it probably plays to Resurrection's favor. A big advantage, however, will tilt to the team that claims a greater share of points in the Anderson-vs.-Tatman duel.
And then there is Jordan Wenger. Wenger holds the #2 seed in the triple jump and the #9 seed in the long jump. Needless to say, the points are the horizontal jump pits are critical to TCA's cause.
There really are no more points for TCA to scrounge. The Titans need a nearly perfect meet to remain in the hunt.
Lutheran probably brings the deepest team to state of all the 3A schools. But, what they don't have is very many seeds who figure to rake in big points.
The notable exception to that last statement is pole vaulter Noah Kelly. Kelly has the top seed at 14-6, but he also has company in that range. Sterling's Xander Burns has gone 14-5. It could be a showdown, though one should always tread lightly when the topic of givens arises when discussing the pole vault. It's a fickle event and always will be.
Typical of Lutheran teams, the speed events are covered well. The Lions have three entries in the 100--JJ Smolen, Joe Ciccio, and Jonah Beard. Both Ciccio and Beard project for points. Ciccio and Beard return for the 200, but the point projections are not quite as high at the longer distance. Beard stands in for points one more time in the 400.
Trey Ciccio steps in as the #3 seed in the 110 hurdles. Together, these guys project for at least a couple of outstanding sprint relays as well, though Beard can only be on one of those relays.
That's what Lutheran can count on--more or less. But they probably need more to win. And, on that front, Lutheran has possibilities. Those possibilities come from Beckham Argosino in the horizontal jumps, Casey Luttrell in the discus, Coleman Nopper in the hurdle events, Payton Waggoner in the 110 hurdles, Josh Ayers, Keaton Reiman, and Luttrell in the shot put, Noah Isakson in the pole vault, and Van Peters in the triple jump.
In short, one big weekend of overachieving could bring the first-place trophy back to Lutheran High School.
Frontier Academy brings a typically solid team to the state meet. The Wolverines, however, always seem to be one or two difference-makers short of seriously contending for a title. Brayden Savage is a solid sprinter. Sylas Chambers is near the top of the deck at 400 and 800 meters. Temesgen Fanning has been a pleasant surprise in the triple jump this spring. Parker Gentry looks like points in the pole vault. The Wolverines figure for points in the 4x400 and 4x800.
The Wolverines also have qualifiers lurking outside of the points who could sneak some points here and there, but it will take a bigger weekend for Frontier Academy to end up at the top than it will take for Lutheran.
Holy Family had a distance crew coming out of state cross country that held all sorts of promise. Somewhere between then and now, however, that promise disappeared. Luke Hixson in the 800 is the only distance-oriented state qualifier for the Tigers. Their 4x800 holds the #6 seed, however, and should bring some points into the fold.
For Holy Family, it's mostly thrower Brody Welch, sprinters Grayson Arnold and Pierce Kunz, and a set of very solid sprint relays. Unlike Frontier Academy and Lutheran, however, the Tigers don't have much reason to hope for #10 through #18 seeds to step up and steal points. Those guys are almost entirely missing from the Holy Family state team.
Holy Family did bring in three guys into the 3200 after scratches, but--barring some kind of monumental disaster--seeds in the high 10:30s aren't going to quietly sneak their way into points in this year's 3200.
Liberty Common is the darkest of horses we'll consider here. Like Lutheran, Liberty Common runs short in the category of top-drawer entries, but they're bringing enough horses to the battle that they have to be considered. The most obvious contributors for the Eagles are 400/800 type Brandon Bate, distance runners Jadon Scarpella and Lucas Barber, thrower AJ Goldfain, and hurdler Merek Ranstrom. Liberty Common also brings the #2 seed in the 4x800. There's no way for the points to add up enough from 10-18 seeds, however, unless at least a couple of these guys burst into the upper echelon of points (7, 8, and 10 points per event).
Six is a short list of teams to consider in a state title hunt, but as I look across the entries, I don't see any other teams that have enough pieces to put together a serious run.
One wild card to consider here is Platte Valley sprinter Devyn Lauer. While the Broncos are probably on the outside of the title hunt looking in, Lauer is the #2 seed in the 100 and the #1 seed in the 200. For what it's worth, Platte Valley is also the #2 seed in the 4x100. The kind of weekend Lauer and friends have could therefore have an enormous bearing on the distribution of sprint points and thus the ultimate disposition of the team title.