Once again, the 4A landscape looks too close to call...
Based on returning personal bests, this team race comes down to a mere two points.
Can one of the most consistently top-tier programs in 4A finally have their day at State this year?
After finishing third last year, Air Academy returns four of their top seven, and the second-fastest team average at 16:19. Add their 53-second 1-5 split, and on paper, and they head into the season with a ice-thin nod up on the competition.
Matthew Mettler and Ethan Abbs are two of the top 10 returners based on time, with Mettler's 15:59 personal best leading the squad by jus over a second - Abbs owns a 16-flat PR. Combined, Air Academy could have two sub-16 5kers this season, and perhaps even three - John Vogel's 16:11 PR hints if not begs at a Sub 16 clocking this season, like teammate Abbs.
A year ago Niwot entered the State meet as the fastest squad but went on to finish fifth. The word Redemption comes to mind, because they actually own the fastest team average heading into the 2019 season.
They return the fastest squad, with defending state champ and 4:04 miler Cruz Culpepper leading the charge. Additionally, they've got 16:02 5ker Caleb Bishop on the roster.
Their 16:07 team average tops 4A, though it comes with a bit of an asterisk as they are one of a few squads to head down to lower elevations.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous squads heading into 2019 is Battle Mountain. Their 41-second 1-5 split tops every team within the Top 10.
Nico Piliero is the top returner based on time with a 16:01 PR.
Editor's Note: Some of the times listed were run at lower elevations, which will make the team average a little faster.