The scenario that 2A girls is coming down to isn't terribly surprising, but it should be very exciting nevertheless. We saw at least four of these five teams coming even before the season started. And now they face a massive showdown at state.
2A girls virtual meet
Hotchkiss wins the virtual meet, but I'm going with Paonia (by a whisker) right now, because the Eagles have a lot more ways to spread their talent around than Hotchkiss. But, there is nothing sewn up about this deal. Now that we have state heat sheets in front of us, we can see the hands that the various teams are playing--less relay composition.
Paonia should get individual event points from Ashley Van Vleet (400, HJ), Morgan Hartigan (300H, shot put), and Taylor Polson (300H, 800). A few more individuals (Brooklynd Erickson, Brianna Van Vleet, Deon Jensen, and Marisa Edmondson) are teetering on the cusp of scoring points versus not scoring. But, what we don't see here are key athletes unavailable for relays. That means Paonia should be able to load strong relays across the board. And that spells trouble for the rest of 2A.
If they go down, Bulldogs only go down by fighting to the bitter end. Count on this team to do that. They key pieces are obvious. Jennifer Celis lines up as the favorite at 400, 800, and 1600 meters. Natalie and Mae Anderson figure to cash in on points in the 3200 and probably lesser points in the 1600, but note well that neither is running the open 800. That should mean relay availability for both. Sophia Schelle will be counted on the bring home some points in the 400. Daryl Batt will be expected to show up big in the discus. If Kelli Buhrdorf can snag a few sprint points, that counts as a major boost. And now we get to relays. With the Andersons only running the 3200, you can figure that Hotchkiss is angling big at relays. They have qualified all five relays but probably can only seriously load about three. And in those three, they need to come out net ahead of Paonia to have a shot at winning.
It's a very big game of chess going on in Delta County this week.
I didn't have Highland picked this high early in the season, but the emergence of Miranda Mathiason as clearly the classification's top hurdler makes a huge difference here. Jamie Clawson handles the jumps. Isabelle Himmel adds some sprint punch. But, Highland can probably only put together two highly competitive relays. It's tough to rule anything out at this point, but barring a near-perfect meet, Highland figures to struggle to keep pace with Hotckiss or Paonia.
At the state meet, you want people who can score big points. Few teams have the depth to nickel and dime you to death at state as sometimes happens in invitationals. S de C has the talent to bring in big points. We'll see Sarah Storey lining up in the 100, long jump, and triple jump. Marissa Storey takes the 100, 200, and long jump. Heather Dieckman occupies both hurdle events. Jenna McKinley takes on the throws. But, the Thunderbirds have no entered relays. If Sangre de Cristo is to make a run at a title a lot depends on a lot of very good things happening in individual events. Stay tuned.
In most years, Lyons is a very well rounded team. That's not as true this year. Distance is exceptionally deep for 2A with Miriam Roberts, Sierra Tucker, and Jenna Anderson. Lauren Simms could add 300H points, but it more or less ends there for individual points. Figure on strong 4x400 and 4x800 relays, but very limited hopes elsewhere. Distance simply must be exceptional--and that against competition that includes Tabor Scholl, Jennifer Celis, and the sisters Anderson--for Lyons to have even a remote shot at a title.