Coach Hill's 2008 State Predictions
I like to do this just for fun. Coaches, athletes, parents, & fans, take it for what you will. It is one persons thoughts and comments on the State XC outcomes and maybe you'll view them somewhat biased. Have fun with it, use it to motivate yourself or your athletes or throw it in the trash.
Teams: Soda completely dominated the State last year with their top 7 runner in the top 10 and returned almost everyone. They are very good again and could put their entire team in the top 20. If they are able to accomplish this, no one will touch them and they will claim their 3rd title in a row. But each year gets a little harder to defend your title. I've witnessed this from experience with my team and many other teams. The bulls-eye gets bigger every year and the pressure mounts. There are a few other good teams focused on the Soda bulls-eye. Couer d' Alene Charter, West Jefferson, and Firth all have very good teams with strong upfront runners and good packs. Any of them could knock Soda off if the falter. My Picks for trophies: 1st Soda, 2nd Firth, 3rd Cd'A Charter, 4th West Jefferson.
Individuals: Bailee Siepert (Soda) is the defending champion and because of this, the favorite, but she has been beat by a few 2A girls that could pull off the upset. Jocelyn Allen (North Fremont) state runner-up in the 1600m and 3200m in track is running very well. Keeley McKinnon (Firth) ran the fastest, last time they were together at Bob Firman in Boise, and Molly Eimers (Grangeville) was the 2nd 2A runner at Firman and scorched her Districts. My Picks: Keeley McKinnon (Firth) best last time at Boise and I'm biased. Then Jocelyn Allen (NF), Molly Eimers (Grangeville) and Bailee Seipert (Soda).
Teams: I said last year that the team to get their 5th runner in first will probably bring home the state title, since each contender had good up front runners, but lacked a close pack. This year as always I believe pack time will be very important. Firth and Westside have strong runners up front, but if teams like Soda, Declo, and Community School can pack up, they may be able to overcome the up front points of Firth and Westside. It might be the closest race in years at the 2A boys level. One thing for sure, it will be lots of fun! My Picks: 1st Firth, 2nd Westside, 3rd Soda, 4th Community School.
Individuals: Caden Portela (Firth) has not been beat this year by any 2A or 3A runner. He won Bob Firman going away and has just gotten stronger. Ryan Kingsland (Oakley) is the top returnee, but was injured part of the season. He is returning to form just at the right time. Drew Povey (West Side) is a front-runner and running very strong. Casey Myers (Soda) has been 3rd two years in a row and always seems to race best at state. Adam Denham (Clark Fork) a relative unknown that has made noise this year up north. Cody Baxter (Firth) the dark horse, who has chased Portela all year and is hungry for a title since he is a senior. Six very good runners, who do I pick. I'll be biased. I want my senior (Cody Baxter), to win in a bad way, what a great young man. The impossible is possible. But My Pick: I'll go against my traditional statements about senior boys and pick Soph. Caden Portela, since He's proved himself all year.
Teams: What is it now? 5 Titles in a row? That is a first for a girls teams, and it seem no one can stop the train yet. Bear Lake looked poised to dominate the 3A field again. Last year they put their top 7 in the top 20 and could very well do it again. I don't see a team even close to stopping them. I would put them as one of the top 3 teams in Idaho. The teams that will battle for the second trophy are a little more difficult to separate. Kimberly, Bonners Ferry, Timberlake and Teton all seem to be pretty even, and they haven't raced each other much, so I'm are pressed to pick a 2nd place team. Kimberly I think has the best top 5 after Bear Lake but Bonners has a great pack. My picks: 1st Bear Lake, 2nd Kimberly, 3rd Teton, 4th Bonners Ferry.
Individuals: All New names this year, which is real rare for girls. Jessica Leohardt (Bear Lake), Marquita Palmer (Weiser) Kara Soucek (McCall), Alice Keller (Salmon) Erika Sweigert (Teton) J. Leohardt won at Firman and hasn't been beat by any 3A girls this year. But freshman have a way of racing incredible this time of year, as they often feel no pressure, so A. Keller or K. Soucek could pull the upset. My Pick: Jessica Leohardt is just too strong with too good of a team around her.
Teams: It has been a few years since a favorite was different than Bear Lake. But this is 2008 and the Teton Redskins are running wild. Lead by the sophomore Wilson twins, they haven't been tested by a 3A school this year. Look for this to be a little different at State. I would say on paper Teton is the best team, but State is the great equalizer. A number of teams could come spoil the party, like Timberlake, Bear Lake or Weiser. Each of these teams have great runners up front and a solid pack. Bear Lake brings a great deal of experience as does each of the others mentioned. I have to stick with what they have done all season so, My Picks: 1. Teton 2. Bear Lake 3. Timberlake 4. Weiser.
Individuals: Ryan Jaggi (Weiser) is ranked #1 and I feel He is the man to beat. He was the top 3A finisher at Firman, and seems to have only improved since. Earlier in the year I would have probably picked one of the Payette boys like defending track champ/soccer star Dominic Bolin, and Zach Waynteska but with their injuries they have at best an outside shot. There are a few others that will factor into the mix. Dory Alleman (BL), Mike McHan (Gooding), Andy Yung (Kimberley), Brian Tucker (Timberlake) and Tavner Wilson (Teton). Any one of these could pull of the win. My Pick: Andy Yung I think will pull off the upset. Again I believe in seniors and they seem to back me up, and I believe Andy is the best senior.
Teams: Last year I picked Preston over Bishop Kelly and it was a battle right down to the wire. Once again I think this is going to be the best girls race of the day. This time Bishop Kelly will be battling it out with Kuna. BK beat them pretty good at Districts, but I believe State will be closer between the two. Bishop Kelly has won 5 titles in a row and has the tradition and talent to win again, but also carry the pressure. There are a couple of other teams to mention, that may become the spoiler, but I doubt it. Hillcrest, and Preston are both very good teams, but just don't have the pack time to compete with Kuna or Bishop Kelly. It will be one of these two teams. My Pick: 1st Bishop Kelly maybe a little more depth. 2. Kuna, 3.Hillcrest, 4. Preston,
Individuals: I picked Sandpoint's Megan Bartlett last year and she didn't let me down, so how can I go against her this year. Freshman Emily Nist (Bishop Kelly) is one good reason, along with District blazing Mackenz Chojnacky (Jerome) and tougher than nails Kaylee Campell (Preston) and don't forget naive freshman Callie Evans (Hillcrest). All have shown times of brilliance this year. Emily Nist though impresses me the most, and I believe has the best shot of upsetting Megan. One thing for sure, don't miss this race it will be a very tight battle down to the wire. My Pick: Megan Bartlett unless the course is a muddy mess then I go with K. Campell.
Teams: Preston pulled off a small upset at state last year knocking off Hillcrest. Preseason I had them #1, since they returned the entire squad but one runner. But they haven't put it back together yet this year, but could be a sleeper in the team race. Coach Tom Shanahan is back at the helm of Bishop Kelly and has them running great again. BK is ranked #1 and looks very hard to vote against. But once again Hillcrest has improved a great deal the last 4 weeks and looked poised to be the spoiler if anyone can. Beside the three team mentioned above no one else seems strong enough to challenge for the title. My Pick: 1. Bishop Kelly, 2. Hillcrest, 3. Preston, 4. Columbia.
Individuals: This race is loaded with 4-5 of the top 10 runners in the entire state. The top boy in the State Barak Watson (Columbia) has to be the heavy favorite to win the State Title. But watch out for teammate Lars Lunstrum (Columbia) and the dynamic duo of Taylor Bean and David Fillmore of Burley. There is another duo of Sam Whitwoth and Tyler Crofts from Hillcrest who could factor into the mix, but probably 5th and 6th. My Picks: Watson , Lunstrum, Bean, Fillmore, Whitworth, and Crofts in that order.
Teams: The 5A ranks in the State of Idaho is now very tough to dominate. There are just to many good runners, teams, and coaches. It is always a dogfight to win at State. However, Mountain View seems to put a lock on 5A this year beating everyone each week. They just have too much depth for the rest of the 5A teams. Now I'm not saying they can't be beat, but someone will really have to step up and race incredible to knock them off. A few teams that have an outside shot of knocking them off are Eagle (good front runner and solid pack), Boise (experienced coach and peak at right time) or maybe Vallivue (very raw and talented). These teams are all scary if they run well. My Picks: 1st Mt. View, 2nd Vallivue, 3rd Eagle, 4th Boise,
Individuals: Kinsey Gomez (Cd'A) if you don't know this name already you don't know XC. She is unbeaten in any race this year that I know about, and I don't think that will change Saturday. But this is a loaded field with tons of talented girls. I'll mention a few that on any given day could pull off the upset. Nicole Nielsen (Borah) incredible runner, 2007 Footlocker Finalist, could step it up and win it all. Liz Brandon (Eagle) has been racing great all year and peaking well. She won District in a blazing way last week, and could pull off the win on her home turf. Alex Litzsinger (Highland) and Amanda Ward (Twin) have could credentials and will be in contention. My Pick: Kinsey Gomez will repeat in a close race with Liz Brandon.
Teams: Draw a name out of a hat. This is how close this race is going to be. Put in that hat Twin Falls, Highland, Boise, Mt. View and Cd'A. I picked the wrong name last year and will probably pick the wrong name this year. It is just too difficult to know who will have the best day Saturday. Any of the above mentioned teams have great up front guys plus tons of depth. Most of their 1-5 spread is around a minute or less. It definitely will be the best and closest boys race of the day. My Pick: 1. Twin Falls I'm going with my rankings here. 2nd Highland, 3rd Boise, 4th Mt. View,
Individuals: Just as good as the team race is going to be, so too, will be the individual race. Defending champ Eric Fitzpatrick (Boise), and the fastest man up north Cody Helbling (Lake City) should be considered as the favorites, but there are plenty others to mention. The freshman class is outstanding with Eric Harris (Twin), Dallin Farnsworth (Highland), Cody Curtis (Cd'A). I don't believe any of these guys can win the title, but they will surely be in the fight. There are two other Boise boys Max Hardy and Greg Montgomery that could surprise the field. I still believe though it will be a 2 man race between Fitzpatrick and Helbling. Watch this one it will be an awesome race. My Pick: Cody Helbling because less pressure on him and team.
I hope you don't take any of this to seriously, since I've thrown out so much nonsense. Good Luck to all Teams!!!!