Harrison Scudamore buried the field at last week's Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. It should be a sterner test for Scudamore on Friday. Photo by Alan Versaw.
You can count on your hands, and probably one hand, the number of meets in the state that have run as long continuously as the Arapahoe Warrior. And, for time out of memory, the Arapahoe Warrior has been on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend.
All of that stays the same this year.
There was formerly believed to be a curse associated with winning the Arapahoe Warrior inasmuch as, over a long period of time, the winner of the Arapahoe Warrior failed to capture a state title nearly two months later. Evidently, though, that curse has by nullified. Katie Rainsberger (2014) is the most recent winner of an Arapahoe Warrior individual title to go on to claim a state title.
Another trait of the Arapahoe Warrior worth noting before we go into specifics about this year's meet is that, like the Cherry Creek Invitational, the Arapahoe Warrior runs FR/SO races where a team might possible hide out a promising new member, whether purposely or not, from varsity exposure. That being the case, yes, I'll do a merge of all divisions after the meet.
Close to 30 teams are registered for this year's Arapahoe Warrior. So, this meet takes its usual place among the state's largest meets.
Several teams of state interest are making their season debut here--including, but not limited to, Salida, Fossil Ridge, and host school Arapahoe.
In a field this big, it's way to easy to overlook contenders for team and individual titles. As much as I don't want this to be the case, there's a strong likelihood that I'll be going back and revising this article a time or two to cover such omissions.
Having said that, let's talk first about the girls individual title contenders. Maria Mettler won last Friday at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede and should be on your list. Arapahoe's Morgan Conn makes her cross country debut here, and it will be very interesting to see how that goes after a brilliant debut track season. Mary Fox will don the black and red of Golden to give it her best shot. Addi Iken will try to back her win last week at the D'Evelyn Dash at this one. Lauren Offerman brings all her savvy and experience to the starting line. Mountain Vista has a whole list of girls entered who could potentially have an impact on the top position in the race. Let's see, that includes Allie Chipman, Caroline Eck, Mauren and Jenna Fitzsimmons, and Sarah O'Sullivan. I don't even want to know about it if Vista Nation gets any more like that. Taryn Ceglowski wears the purple Salida singlet for the first time in a while and will be anxious to show she's lost nothing.
Top contenders among the boys appear to include Ethan Powell, Rylan Wallace of Cherokee Trail who won last week's Aurora City Championship, Kyle Moran, Jerod Kuhn of Columbine, Harrison Scudamore, Dylan Ko of Fossil Ridge, Parker Mackay, Joshua Romine, and Shayan Zarrin of Mountain Vista, and Chris Theodore of Rock Canyon. That should be enough to keep most folks' attention riveted on the front of the field.
Team-wise, it's an even tougher call. It's tough to say how courses from last week compare and tougher still to say what teams that didn't run last week might have.
Arapahoe definitely figures as a boys contender even without benefit of a prior performance this year, but I think most folks would share my perspective that, until we see otherwise, Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon will go into the meet with the position of favorites for the #1 and #2 positions.
Girls figure to come down between Air Academy and Mountain Vista, both of which posted big wins last weekend. Coronado also posted a big win last weekend, but merged scores from the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede suggest the Cougars have some catching up to do with the Kadets. Fossil Ridge comes in as a bit of an unknown and could potentially surprise some folks here. Highlands Ranch ran second to Regis Jesuit at Cherry Creek last weekend, but this meet probably figures as a stiffer field of competition. Salida probably doesn't figure as a team title contender, but we still stand to learn a great deal about how competitive the defending 3A state champions figure to be this fall.
In any case, it should all prove to be very interesting--it always does at the Arapahoe Warrior.