Kiah Leonard figures to be among those in contention for the regional crown, but can Berthoud eke out a state berth in this powerful region? Colorado Track XC file photo by Paul Jaeger.
This region has long been one of the toughest--if not the toughest--girls region in the state, regardless of classification. Not much about that changes this year.
Thompson Valley returns almost its entire varsity cast to defend their state title from last year. It's a deep, mature, and talented team. Who wouldn't like to toe the starting line with Kendra Larson, Emily Leidig, Ellie Colpitts, Kacie Kaufman, Helena Ernst, and Megan Irvine? There aren't many scenarios you can conceive of where Thompson Valley isn't one of the teams you're most worried about in mid to late October. Enjoy figuring out how to deal with them, and I will do the same.
But, even Thompson Valley lacks a good reason to think they'll overrun the region, let alone the state. That would have a lot to do with crosstown rival Mountain View. Riley Cooney and Lauren Offerman are very possibly the top two runners in the region. Behind them, there's a lot of experience in Rachel Franklin and Abby Stewart. Caroline Foster is likely the #5 and solidified our suspicions about that this spring with a nice track season. They are Lions, hear them roar.
Frankly, the region drops off a little after TV and MV. And, it's probably a good thing, too. It's not clear how many more teams like this a region could sustain before it becomes an excessive ordeal just to get out of the region to the state meet.
Silver Creek, Mead, Windsor, and Berthoud form the next tier. All are solid teams with a little bit of cross country tradition in their corner. Each faces some uncertainties about how deep their scoring punch will reach this fall.
Silver Creek's top returner from last fall, Mikayla Gaffney, didn't run track in the spring, but you're still going to have high expectations of someone who ran 19:28 last fall. Brissa Ramirez showed something in the spring and may be ready to move up in the order. Maiya Jazwierska falls under the same heading. Be sure to scan the horizon occasionally for Raptors this fall.
Berthoud, of course, falls in behind Kiah Leonard. But, the next four will need to close the gap on Leonard if this team is to be one of the chosen four making it out of the region in October.
Camilla Lee had a nice fall campaign last year, but stayed far away from distance in track in the spring. So, the Mead lead may fall to Madison Polson or Sierra Bell. Like Berthoud, though, Mead needs more in the 20-something range.
Windsor got rocked a little at commencement exercises, but has a solid duo coming back in Tori Thomas and Britney Robertson. If some more help works its way up, Windsor could be doing the Wizardly thing and making their way to state this fall.
Other teams to keep an eye on include Fort Morgan (a team that made some investment in the 3200 in track this spring), Roosevelt (could be a rising star under new coach Daniel Joiner), and Longmont (the Trojans should continue to improve under Kevin Akers).
Dull moments are difficult to come by in this region.