Hannah Capek was Palmer Ridge's top finisher at State, but the Bears rotated that honor through the season. Photo by Alan Versaw.
We already know about the Palmer Ridge boys, but the Palmer Ridge girls might be the next big thing in northern El Paso County.
On what evidence, you ask? Well, consider that Palmer Ridge returns all four of its top scoring runners from state while first and second-place Mountain View and Thompson Valley both lose three of their scoring five. And Palmer Ridge was only 18 points out of first place this year. If you think the Bears can't smell blood after this year's result, you don't know Bears very well.
It might be a good time to ponder the possibility of a PR sweep in 4A next year.
Coming back for Palmer Ridge next fall are Audree Furst, Hannah Capek, Kaitlin Ramsey, Emily Croft, and state #7 Faith Clear. Sisters Rachel and Kaleigh Cunneff add more to the Bears' pile of depth--and that before we consider any possibilities of incoming freshmen.
Furst and Capek are likely the teams two front runners, though a case for Kaitlin Ramsey could be made as well. All told, though, it was a pretty tight group up front for Palmer Ridge this fall and likely will be again next fall. That's a good thing because, at least at this point, Palmer Ridge lacks the show-stopping kind of front runner. Hannah Capek was this year's top finisher at state for Palmer Ridge in 16th place.
It goes almost without saying that Palmer Ridge made an enormous leap this year from a state-qualifying team that didn't really contend in 2013, to a bona fide title threat in 2014. It's difficult to say now how much space they have before they find their ceiling, but this is one team you don't want to leaving out of your thoughts for the coming 2015 season.
I don't have a good read on incoming freshman girls in the Monument area. At this point, it's probably safe to say that Palmer Ridge is as likely as anyone, and probably more likely than most, to be bringing in a game-changing freshman in the fall. But, we'll have to wait and see about that.