Peak to Peak returns everyone from their 2017 state championship squad.
Peak to Peak claimed the past two state titles, led by Quinn McConnell, and Anna Shults each time. Last year they swept the top three spots with McConnell taking the state title, Shults in the runner-up position, and Tiana Bradfield in third. The year before it was McConnell placing second, with Schults third, and Bradfield 12th.
There's really only one question: can anyone beat Peak to Peak?
So, we'll skip the who is the individual favorite (McConnell), or team favorite (Peak to Peak), and begin speculating on what's happening behind one of the most dominating trios in 3A history.
Steamboat Springs came within 19 points of an upset last year, but they've moved on up to 4A, leaving The Classical Academy as the best bet for an upset.
TAC was led Kaylee Thompson and Katie Flahertylast year. Thompson is the No. 6 returner this year, and Flaherty is No. 10. TAC has got a shot - if they can close the gap from their remaining scoring runners. They only lost two from last year's state squad, so they'll be returning some veterans.
Likewise, Elizabeth and D'Evelyn look similar. Each squad has a runner who is within the top-10 returning this year. Elizabeth has Ashten Loeks, and D'Evelyn has Taylor Haerbig. Elizabeth returns everyone from last year's sixth-place team, while D'Evelyn returns all but one.
On paper there's a three-way battle for that runner-up spot. The difference will be where the remaining scoring runners finish - it'll be that close.
And then there's the dark horse, because there always is one. This year I see two: Gunnison, and Salida. Salida returns six of seven from last year's state squad, and Gunnison brings everyone back. Whats makes both squads dangerous is how young they were last year.
Salida returns two seniors, two juniors, and two sophomores, while Gunnison returns three seniors, two juniors, and two sophomores.