The Classical Academy's Erika Willis is the defending state champion in the pole vault, and the clear favorite to claim this year's title.
League Teams: Canon City, The Classical Academy, Elizabeth, Harrison, Mesa Ridge, Mitchell, Sierra, Widefield, Woodland Park
Last Year's League Results: The Classical Academy ran away with last year's title with a young squad. The Titans scored in nearly every event, dominating second-place Widefield. Taking the third spot was Elizabeth, though the Cardinals did appear to have trained through the league meet.
Key Losses by Graduation:
Key Returning Athletes:
Katie Flaherty (right) and McKenzie Elliott (left) will be vital to the team score for The Classical Academy.
The Outlook: The top two teams in the state came out of this league, and it's likely to happen again, as both The Classical Academy and Elizabeth return a laundry list of top performers. Of the 14 individual events, three were won by seniors last year. Basically, (nearly) everyone is coming back. This bodes well, very well, for The Classical Academy, who return more than everyone.
The Titans claimed five individual titles last year, and all five league champs return. The Classical Academy is the one team that looks capable of scoring in nearly every event, making them the lone "full" team. The 2017 state champs look primped for another run.
Behind the wake of their presumed dominance, the race for second looks in favor of Elizabeth, who return five key athletes. If the Cardinals decide to really make a run for a podium finish at league this year, they appear to be a solid No. 2. The only real question looks to be who'll sneak into the top three -- Widefield, or Harrison?
In the sprints there aren't any clear-cut favorites, seeing as that no one dominated last year, and with a slew of youth returning to the track, a league title could be up for grabs, even with returning league champs on the starting line. If there's any area that could change the team race, it'd be in the sprints, because the field and the distance events appear to be already spoken for.
The field events return some of the state's best. Sierra's Sami is the clear favorite in the discus. The junior is the No. 2 returner in the state in the event. In the triple jump Elizabeth's Lexye Wood looks to be the favorite, as she is the top returner in the state in the event. Likewise, The Classical Academy's Willis is a clear favorite in the pole vault. She'll be eyeing to defend her league title, and her state title, having set the 3A state record last year. She doesn't appear to have a challenger within range.
The distance events belong to The Classical Academy. The only question is here is what event they'll line up in. Steele is the No. 2 returner in the state in the 800, while Flaherty is the No. 2 returner in the 3,200. Between Elliot, Percy, Steele, Burroughs, and Flaherty, they've got the distance events covered.