Lauren Offerman has already proven herself as a runner. She will have to take on a larger share of leadership responsibility next fall with Riley Cooney graduated. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Perhaps none of this year's Colorado state champion teams face a road next year loaded with as many uncertainties as the Mountain View girls. The Mountain Lions graduate a bundle off of this year's state team--to include Riley Cooney, Abby Stewart, Katie Benner, and Caroline Foster. That list would include three of their top four finishers from state.
On the other hand, Lauren Offerman, Rachel Franklin, and Alison Peters do return, and that leaves a solid foundation for a 2015 squad, but some missing pieces will have to be replaced.
After a very nice race at Liberty Bell, Rachel Franklin competed in only one other meet before state, suggesting she was battling an injury in the latter part of the season. Further, her state meet time was a little more than a minute off her Cheyenne Mountain Stampede time. So, if all that is history at this point, Mountain View should expect to see a stronger presence from Franklin late next year than late this year.
Offerman? Well, she will return as one of the 4A favorites next year, though that is a crowded group. There isn't anyone who follows 4A girls cross country who doesn't already know most of what there is to know about Lauren Offerman as a competitor.
It's difficult to say exactly what happens from one year to the next, but--at least for the moment--Offerman and Franklin look like the 1-2 for Mountain View for next fall. Joining Peters at 3-4 would appear to be classmate McKenna Dellinger. Both will be juniors next fall. Dellinger was running varsity for Mountain View this fall as late as the regional race.
And then questions start to arise.
Mountain View has nobody else returning with a sub-22 time to her name. And, if Mountain View aims to repeat as 4A state champions (something that's been hard to do of late, but Mountain View is the last 4A girls team to do it), they will definitely need a #5 who can clip off at least a 20-low on a faster course.
If that person doesn't emerge from this year's roster, she could come up from the middle school ranks. Rumor has it that the top Loveland-area middle schooler from this fall, Kenadi Krueger, is headed to Thompson Valley. That, of course, would only serve to compound issues--at least locally--for Mountain View. There are a couple more high-performing middle schoolers from the Loveland area, but it remains to be seen if any end up in the camp of the Mountain Lions. Stay tuned, we may not know the answer to that question until late next summer.
Although this is certainly not new news to Coach Kevin Clark, Mountain View has their work cut out for them in order to return to this year's level next year. Still, Mountain View is a program rich in tradition and such programs generally find ways to get surprising things done. In any case, it's definitely premature to be discounting chances for this team next year.
Mountain Lions are exceptionally good at sneaking up on you.