Meeker's Austin Russell is one of several very strong contenders for individual berths to state out of 2A Region 4. Photo by Alan Versaw.
2A Region 4 is still the Western Slope region of Colorado's 2A cross country regions. As such, you won't be surprised to learn that they're all headed to the Delta Speedway (aka Confluence Park) to determine who gets to go to state.
It's a familiar setting for all teams concerned, though the Friday date for this year's regional isn't quite as familiar.
We'll start this time with the boys.
2A Region 4 Boys Preview
Like every other region, four teams will advance to state.
Mancos looks like a strong favorite to take the regional crown. And, the Blue Jays' depth makes it pretty difficult to believe they wouldn't advance to state even if they had to go to regionals without a key runner due to sickness or some other unforeseen factor.
It gets more interesting after Mancos--a lot more interesting.
With Mancos taking a spot to state, that leaves four teams in the hunt for what look to be three spots. Telluride, Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Ouray will all make their cases on Friday. The most likely scenario is that three advance and one stays home, and that could easily be determined by a margin of a point or two. Figure that coaches and parents will be engaged in some furious bouts of tallying at the finish line.
For whatever team of the four misses, there is a near certainty of qualifying at least one individual. For Telluride, that likely individual would be Jaden Evans. For Hotchkiss, Sam Rodriguez. For Ouray, Evan Alsup. And for Paonia, Caden Meilner. So, it's unlikely to be a total loss for any of these four teams, but it is obviously a whole lot more fun to take a team to state than an individual or two.
Other regional individuals with very strong shots at individual state qualifying are Ben Kelley of Soroco, Patrick Scoggins of Rangely, and Austin Russell of Meeker. Curiously, these three are the top three ranked individuals in the region going into the meet. Though Ben Kelley does figure to qualify regardless his most recent performances suggest that the Soroco star may be dealing with an injury of some sort.
Click on Next to see the 2A Region 4 Girls preview.