Cross country primer: Top 5A runners return to defend titles

September 11, 2013 

5A SOUTHERN IDAHO CONFERENCE

BOYS

2012 state champion: Rocky Mountain

2012 individual state champion: Dwain Stucker, Meridian (returning)

2012 District Three champion: Capital

2012 individual District Three champion: Stucker

Teams to watch:

• Boise expects to contend with three runners back, including Matt Sewall (28th at state last year), Harper Poole (50th) and Eli Jensen (53rd) along with a solid group of newcomers.

• Capital finished second last season and brings back Jacob Davis (7th), Drew Schultz (16th), Corbin Williams (39th), Joe Mullener (40th) and Tanner Eastep (45th).

• Meridian returns the reigning state champion and three other runners from last year's fourth-place team.

• Mountain View had a young squad last season, but plans to be in the mix with all its runners returning. Jared Capell (31st) was the Mavericks' top placer last year.

• Rocky Mountain has a strong core back to contend for a second straight title, including Jordon Wallin (9th), Garrett Plant (12th), Joe Giese (24th) and Michael Slagowski (34th).

Other runners to watch: Centennial senior Scott Sullivan (18th), Borah senior Sam Powell (36th), Eagle junior Dan Whitfield, Timberline senior Andrew Rafla (injured), Vallivue junior Nick Hamilton.

GIRLS

2012 state champion: Coeur d'Alene

2012 individual state champion: Emily Hamlin, Boise (returning)

2012 District Three champion: Vallivue

2012 individual District Three champion: Hamlin

Teams to watch:

• Boise returns five runners, headlined by two-time district and state champion Hamlin along with Sienna White (15th), Madison Lung (22nd), Audrey Rustad (33rd) and Sydney Harris (35th).

• Mountain View has five of seven runners back, led by senior Sam McKinnon (17th) and freshman Reagan Badger.

• Rocky Mountain returns Paige Dilmore (14th), Kaylee Oyler (29th), Julia Fretwell (30th) and Brittany Wilding (34th) from last year's fourth-place squad.

• Vallivue brings back Mikayla Malaspina (3rd), Kira Tristan (19th), McKayla Tiffany (20th), Annika Christiansen (47th) and Emily Hammons (69th).

Other runners to watch: Borah sophomore Sara Christianson (8th), Eagle junior Megan Dupree (24th), Capital sophomore Olivia Konecni (26th), Timberline junior Anna Hartwick (28th), Meridian sophomore McKenzie Refaey, Centennial freshman Katie Weedn.

4A SOUTHERN IDAHO CONFERENCE

BOYS

2012 state champion: Pocatello

2012 individual state champion: Elijah Armstrong, Pocatello (returning)

2012 District Three champion: Bishop Kelly

2012 individual District Three champion: Michael Cunningham, Kuna (graduated)

Teams to watch:

• Bishop Kelly brings back every scorer from last year's third-place team, including Daniel Elia (10th), Tom Parry (14th) and Joe Grover (24th).

• Columbia could contend with the help of returners Levi Watson (13th), Oscar Williamson (25th) and Erik Barfuss (44th).

• Kuna took second at state last season and has Caleb Day (21st), Brock Thompson (27th) and Chase Nielsen (88th) back.

• Nampa has an opportunity to surprise after gaining Caldwell transfer Alberto De Los Reyes (8th), who joins four returning lettermen.

Other runners to watch: Middleton junior Austin Fred (20th), Caldwell senior Everardo Mendoza, Skyview junior Ammon Christensen, Emmett sophomore Kenny Bassett, Mountain Home senior Andy Croft.

GIRLS

2012 state champion: Middleton

2012 individual state champion: Rachel McGovern, Pocatello (returning)

2012 District Three champion: Middleton

2012 individual District Three champion: Lina Schell, Middleton (moved out of area)

Teams to watch:

• Bishop Kelly is young but talented with Anna Kreslins (11th), Dani Aravich (31st), Natalie Little (33rd), Emily Baca (49th) and Sydney Engelhardt (96th) back.

• Columbia has many new faces joining returner Mikayla Homer (17th), and could improve upon last year's seventh-place finish at state.

• Kuna has 12 runners vying for seven spots, led by seniors Megan Danell and Kaitlin Tookey and junior Madie Cook (60th).

• Skyview's Jocelyn Barber (5th) is the top District Three runner back, and she is joined by returning lettermen Holly Hayes (30th), Madison Wilson (43rd) and Abbey Duff (63rd).

Other runners to watch: Emmett senior Chandra Smith (10th), Caldwell junior Tamika Russell (19th), Mountain Home junior Shilo Clark, Nampa junior Allison Armstrong.

Meets to watch: Steven Thompson Centipede, Les Bois Park, Wednesday; Bob Firman, Eagle Island State Park, Sept. 21; State meet, Freeman Park, Idaho Falls, Nov. 2.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422; Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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