State cross country preview

rroberts@idahostatesman.comNovember 2, 2013 

Races at Freeman Park in Idaho Falls begin at 11 a.m. and run through 2:30 p.m. Here is a look at the field, which includes more than 750 runners:

5A GIRLS

Individual: Mountain View senior Sam McKinnon was 20 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor with a time of 17 minutes, 55.1 seconds in the District Three meet. She’s bound to get competition from two-time champion Emily Hamlin of Boise, plus last year’s runner-up Josie Brown of Coeur d’Alene and third-place finisher Makayla Malaspina of Vallivue.

Team: Coeur d’Alene is the favorite after winning by a large margin last season. Boise, which finished third, is coming off a district win.

5A BOYS

Individual: Junior Will Eddy of Hillcrest has the best time among entered runners in 15:14.0. District Three champion Andrew Rafla of Timberline is second in 15:18.2, but don’t overlook defending champion Dwain Stucker of Meridian, Mountain View’s Jared Capell, Capital’s Zach Wieberg or Lake City’s Jake Finney.

Team: Rocky Mountain won last season, but took third at this year’s district meet behind Mountain View and Capital. Hillcrest is a threat.

4A GIRLS

Individual: Rachel McGovern of Pocatello is the defending champion, but isn’t on the roster for state. That opens up the competition to at least two competitors — Blackfoot’s Rachel Cannon and Moscow’s Katherine Ruck. They are the only 4A females to run under 19 minutes this season.

Team: Bishop Kelly finished sixth last season, but won this year’s district meet and could be a contender alongside Pocatello and Sandpoint.

4A BOYS

Individual: Elijah Armstrong of Pocatello, the two-time defending champion, is the runner to beat. Sandpoint’s Sam Levora is the only other 4A runner to break the 16-minute barrier this season. Nampa’s Alberto De Los Reyes is the district champion.

Teams: District Three champion BK should be in the mix to unseat Pocatello, as could a strong outing from Nampa or Jerome.

3A GIRLS

Individual: Defending champion Olivia Redd of Sugar-Salem has a season-best time of 18:08.3, which is nearly 40 seconds faster than her nearest competitor. Shelley’s Cambria Hassell is the only other 3A runner to run under 19 minutes this season. Harlie Sorrell enters as the District Three champion.

Team: Sugar-Salem can win its second straight title, but will need to hold off Shelley, Snake River and District Three champion Parma.

3A BOYS

Individual: Last year’s champion has graduated, opening the door for runner-up Joseph Van Orden of Snake River. Three other runners — Bear Lake’s Luke Brogan, Shelley’s Austin Stewart and Bear Lake’s Garrett Brogan — have posted better times than Van Orden this season. Cole Hungate of Homedale is the District Three champion.

Team: Teton won last year, but graduated several top runners. Shelley is among the favorites, but Timberlake could make a run.

2A GIRLS

Individual: Sierra Manzer of Melba is the favorite as the reigning champion, but two other runners have posted faster times than Manzer this season — Kelsey Yamauchi and Jennifer Nielsen of Soda Springs.

Team: Soda Springs won by a large margin last year, and looks to be in contention for a fourth straight title with its top five runners ranked in the top 15 in the state, according to athletic.net. The fight for second through fourth place last year was decided by five points.

2A BOYS

Individual: Paul Ryan of the Logos School in Moscow took second last year behind a runner who has graduated. Ryan can expect competition from third-place finisher W. Leif Fredericks of Coeur d’Alene Charter. Fredericks is the only runner in the field to eclipse 16 minutes this season. Victory Charter’s Gabe Fisher is the District Three champion.

Team: Logos won last year’s title and returns four of its top five runners. Second-place Soda Springs returns its top five runners. Victory Charter is the District Three champion.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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