Kyle Hall is one of the bigger reasons Palisade figures to be contending for a league title this spring.
League Teams: Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Glenwood Springs, Palisade, Summit
Last Year's League Results: I don't have the point compilations from last year's league meet, but it appears as if Glenwood Springs won the affair, with Palisade, Eagle Valley, and Battle Mountain following close behind, though . Summit was a little outgunned last spring. At State, Palisade's 30 points were good enough for ninth place in 4A, Glenwood finished 20th with 14 points, Eagle Valley had six points for 30th, Battle Mountain had one point for 40th, and Summit did not score.
Key Losses by Graduation:
Battle Mountain: Luis Mendoza, Nathaniel Badger, Emmanuel Escobar
Eagle Valley: Corben Funk, John Long
Glenwood Springs: Miguel Peralta, Riley Prough, Alex Cutright, Jesse Duplesys, Larry Flores
Palisade: Zaccre Kenward, Connor Dillon, Caleb Brown, Sam Erickson, Tanner Pratt
Summit: Daniel Keller
Key Returning Athletes:
Battle Mountain: James Moran, Max Christenberry, Qwahn Kent
Eagle Valley: Miguel Castillo, Jack Neifert, Aiden Branch, Harrison Trotter, Matthew Turner, Holden Daniels, Juan Pablo Velasco, Alejandro Aragon
Glenwood Springs: Gavin Olson, Gavin Harden, Benny Smith, Bryce Risner, AJ Crowley, Luke Gair, Kuba Bartnik
Palisade: Landon Sauvage, Brody Bittner, Mark McKinney, Kyle Hall, Danny Tate, Ricardo Valenzuela, Jacob Mattingley
Summit: Calvin Duffy
Glenwood Springs and Palisade both lost a lot to graduation. Both, though, have a lot coming back. The league title appears to come down between these two programs, though Eagle Valley is not quite out of the hunt, either. In that sense, things look a lot like last year.
What doesn't look so much like last year is the absence of a game-changing kind of star like Zaccre Kenward. While the Western Slope 4A will most definitely be looking to improve on their points presence at this year's state meet, Palisade will likely be hard-pressed to match last year's tally of 30. Still, it could happen--Palisade is clearly a track and field program on this rise. Perhaps there's enough overall rise this year to offset to loss of a big-time performer like Kenward.
All three of Eagle Valley, Glenwood Springs, and Palisade have a strong distance presence, meaning nobody's likely to get a big enough advantage through distance events to carry the day. A quick glance over things suggests that field events will tell the story of league supremacy this year.