Note: Due to limitations of time in getting this article prepared, I have looked only at track events for Saturday and not field events.
The die was cast a long time ago. There have been a few teams beating on the die, but thus far nobody has been able to crack it. At this point, Walsh and Merino appear to be on track to repeat as 1A state chapmions.
Heading into Saturday's finals, Walsh is out ahead of the 1A boys pack with 46 points already in the bank. Simla holds down second with 33 points. Bethune occupies third with 32 points.
Bethune's prospects for Saturday look good with John Strobel lined up for both hurdle finals Alex Duarte is a top seed in the 1600. Simla has good Saturday prospects in the 4x100 and with Jake Erickson in the 1600.
But both teams' Saturday prospects pale a little against those of Walsh. Jonathan England will take on the 100, 200, and 400, Weston and Jaxon Meardon are well positioned to score in the 1600, And, the Eagles should be dangerous in both the 4x100 and 4x400 as well.
In short, it's going to take a lot to overhaul the team in purple and white. But, nobody is handing out the trophies yet.
Merino is already up to 55.5 points on the girls side, with Simla trying to keep pace at 38, Shining Mountain at 36, and Vail Christian at 27.
Vail Christian has the Ashlyn Gruber show coming up at 100, 200, and 400 meters, but that's about it for what's left for the Saints. Shining Mountain should have big points coming at 1600 meters, but very little else to hang their hats on.
Simla is alive and well with opportunity. Jessica George will be competing in the 100 and 200, Tanna Boyle in the 1600, plus competitive relays in both the 4x100 and 4x400.
Once again, however, the current leader is holding a hand with a few more cards. Merino starts Saturday with Danielle Rinaldo and Elizabeth Thomas in the 100 hurdles, then Bailey Walser in the 400, Elsa Shino in the 1600, Danielle Rinaldo again in the 300 hurdles, then a solid 4x100, and concluding with what is easily the top-ranked 4x400 in the 1A field. It will be tough to bump Merino out of the lead.
1A highlights from Friday's action included a runaway win for Vail Chrstian's Ashlyn Gruber in the 800. A few minutes later, Robert Ryland of Sierra Grande took a narrow victory over Stetson Rushton in the boys' 800. Both times smashed 1A state meet records set last year.
Merino's girls set new state meet records in the 4x200 and SMR8, the latter producing a win over top-seeded Elbert. Andrew Perry of Otis set a state record that may last for a good, long time with a discus throw of 170-7. And Tyrrell Stafford and Weston Meardon gave Walsh a huge lift with a 1-3 finish in the triple jump.