5A Boys
Team--Last year preseason I picked Eagle with so many returning in the top 20, but they let me down
and the dark horse team from the north Cd'A pulled a big upset.  This year Rocky Mountain has the
best returning group on paper based on last years State results.  Cd'A still looks pretty strong and with
State in their area
, may pull the upset again.  Boise and Mountain View always seem to develop strong
teams each year and put their names into the trophy mix.  4A powerhouse Hillcrest does move up to 5A
this year and could be a factor along with Highland which was disallowed to compete at last years State
Championships.  I do think that this is one year where there is no clear favorite. Based on the little info.
I have, I'm picking them this way. 1. Rocky Mountain, 2. Boise, 3. Cd'A, 4. Mountain View, 5.
Highland.

Individually-- Two time champ Dallin Farnsworth and NXN & Footlocker finalist is gone, along with a
good class of seniors in 2011.  In fact
, 13 of last years medalist have graduated.  This leaves a great
deal of opportunity for the underclassmen
. The best being 2011 runner-up Thomas Rigby (Boise).  
There are a couple that might disagree with that last statement and will be determined to prove me
wrong.  Justin Ross (RM) and Michael Dunton (Cd'A) are two that could really challenge for the
coveted State Crown.  My 2012 preseason picks in 5A are.  1. Thomas Rigby (Boise) with that great
800 speed, 2. Justin Ross (RM) almost as fast but maybe a little stronger after a stellar outdoor mile in
2012, 3. Michael Dunton (Cd'A) good track season, 4. The dark horse sophomore Jake Finney (Lake
City).

5A Girls
Team--Preseason rankings has Boise ranked #1 and they return a great group, but I think Cd'A girls
return the best young group. I think they really were overlooked in 2011 and really surprised us all at
State last year. They will not surprise anyone this year and may have a big bullseye as the preseason
favorite. I picking them that way. Vallivue a team that is lead by last
years track standout Mikayla
Malaspina I feel
will be the surprise team of 2012. I understand they are getting another standout
freshman to go along with an already tough group. The Mountain View girls team with their great depth
will definitely also be fighting for trophies in October. I still think they need to race more in Idaho
against Idaho's best. I'll rank them this way: 1. Cd'A, 2. Vallivue, 3. Boise, 4. Mountain View, 5.
Timberline
.

Individually--All the best were freshman last year so 2012 will be the battle of sophomores.  M.
Malaspina (Vallivue), E. Hamlin (Boise), J. Brown, Kara & Krista Story, P. Duran all from Cd'A, will
ultimately battle with the new freshman and a couple Timberline girls (Serpe, Ball) and MV girls
(McKinnon, McGray). It all depends on who had a good summer or what new freshman emerge on the
scene.  Preseason picks: 1. M. Malaspina (Vall), 2. E. Hamlin (Boise), 3. S. McKinnon (MV), 4. J.
Brown (Cd'A).

4A Boys
Team--Pocatello is the big favorite after winning in 2012 and returning almost the entire group and most
importantly the #1 runner in the state with Elijah Armstrong. This division
loses Hillcrest the #2 team in
4A
, as they move up to 5A. Twin Falls a perrenial power seems a liitle down. This will leave 4A boys
wide open after Pocky. I think looking at 2011 results there are a couple other pretty good teams in
Preston, Columbia and Rigby. Preseason picks:  1. Pocatello,  2. Preston, 3. Rigby, 4. Columbia, look
best to bring home trophies.

Individually--Of course I picked Eric Harris last year, but an amazing freshman beat one of Idaho best
runner
s ever in a great race in Boise. I will be of course picking Elijah Armstrong (Pocatello) to
dominate this year. The second best back from 2011 is his teammate Haydin Herndon
and he will
contend
.  Sam Levora (Sandpoint) and Ryan Crowther (Preston) are two others that could challenge for
the title. However, I think everyone else is running for second. Picks: 1. E. Armstrong (Poc), 2. R.
Crowther (Preston), 3. H. Herndon (Poc)
, 4.S. Levora (Sandpoint).

4A Girls
Team--I have picked Bishop Kelly for so many years I can't even remember the last time I picked
someone else. This year it is wide open as BK graduated almost there entire squad. Coach Shanahan
will redoubtably bring another good group to state, but I think the 4A girls race is up for grabs. Looking
at last years returning top 20 I really don't know who to pick.  Preston, Jerome and Skyview seem to
return the top group, but honestly there is a ton of parity in 4A. Here are my picks:  1. Preston, 2.
Jerome, 3. Skyview, 4. BK.  

Individually--Again I have picked Emily Nist to win for so many years that I don't know any different.
I guess I will have to get with the times and learn the new names. Sierra Manzer (Kuna) appears to be
the new star, as she ran great last year and had a solid track season.  Jasmine Nesbitt (Jerome) could
also challenge and if Hannah McInturff (Century) come
s back from volleyball, watch out.  Hannah had
a great track season taking down Nist and the rest in the 800/1600 double.  Picks: 1. S. Manzer (Kuna),
2. J. Nesbitt
(Jerome), 3. A. Braun (TF) and H. McInturff if she runs.

3A Boys-  
Team--The last two years I picked Teton, and they did not disappoint.  This year I will pick, yes you
guessed it Snake River. They return defending champ James Withers, 2 others in the top 20 and a great
freshman in Joseph Van Orden along with Thomas a move in from American Falls. Teton also returns a
great group and have the State experience so don't count them out.  Another teams that could challenge
is Timberlake, but after that it appears wide open for a trophy.  My picks: 1. Snake River 2. Teton, 3.
Timberlake, 4.
Sugar (Biased).

Individually--The clear favorite is defending champ and 1600/3200 double winner James Withers
(SR), but there are a few that might surprise. Gabe Moore (Filer) and newcomer from soccer Conner
Stoddard (Sugar) both had strong track seasons and will push James. Another good runner coming
up
from 2A is E. Garcia (Gooding
).  He ran well last year as a freshman and almost won the 2 mile in
track this spring.
A couple standout freshman may play a role for the top spots in Joseph Van Orden
(SR), and Austin Stewart (Shelley). Picks: 1. J. Wither (SR), 2. Conner Stoddard (Sugar), 3. G. Moore
(Filer), 4.
E. Garcia (Gooding), 5. A. Stewart (Shelley).

3A Girls
Team--Three Time Champs Timberlake would still be one of the favorite if Ashley George was still
running. Instead she has turned her attention to soccer. With this huge news Sugar-Salem who finished
a close second to Timberlake the past couple years seems posed to take the top spot in 2012. They  
return all of their top 7 and have 6 back in the top 20
, along with 3 standout new freshman. Lead by
2010-2011 upstart Olivia Redd they should be tough to beat. A few other teams that had young teams
last year that could mix up the trophies in Boise are: Gooding (Coming up from 2A), Teton (strong
developing team), and Snake River (watch out a possible sleeper).   My picks:  1. Sugar Salem, 2.
Timberlake, 3. Gooding, 4. Snake River.

Individually--With the 2 BIGS finally graduating Alice Keller (Salmon) and M. Palmer (Weiser) the 3A
race is wide open.  There are undoubtedly a few new favorites.  First Rachal Youren (Gooding) 2A
defending XC State Champ moving up will bring a star presence. The other is Olivia Redd (Sugar) who
knocked off standout A. Keller in track. New feshman will also probably play a big role, but that will
have to be seen as the year progresses. A few others that will factor in could be K. Hill (Sugar), Q. Van
Orden (SR) and R. Ward (Timberlake). Picks: 1. Olivia Redd (Sugar), 2. R. Youren (Gooding), 3. K
Hill (Sugar), 4. Q. Van Orden (SR).

2A Boys
Team--My preseason top two picks ended up coming through with Soda and Challis going 1-2 in 2011.
The big surprise ended up being Cd'A Charter which took third and surprise
d the state. This year I
think the surprise team is going to be Salmon. They are moving down to the 2A/1A division and have a
strong nucleus of runners back with three in the preseason top 10. Likewise the top team (Soda,
Challis) lost a lot to graduation.  A few other teams that could step up in 2012 are: Firth which returns a
good group, Victory Charter, Greenleaf, and Liberty Charter. My Preseason picks: 1. Salmon, 2. Firth,
3. Greenleaf, 4. Victory Charter.  

Individually-- The top returners are a few Charter school guys Conrad Larson (VC) and Leif
Fredericks (Cd'A Charter) . Then a couple Salmon runners after them. I think Conrad or Leif should be
the favorites, but both were nonexistent during track, so I not sure I can pick them. T
he Salmon guys
really didn't excel on the track either, so this is a tough one. I think Gabe Fisher (Victory Charter) or
Josh Dalton (Dietrich) looked the best in the spring. So my picks: 1. Josh Dalton (Dietrich), 2. Gabe
Fisher (VC), 3. L. Fredericks (Cd'A), 4. B. Godfrey (Salmon), Conrad Larson (VC).


2A Girls-  
Team--Soda Springs has now won six Team Titles in a row, and look posed to win a another with a
now veteran group that led the Cardinal last couple seasons. With Gooding moving up and Firth losing a
bit to graduation, there doesn't appear to be a team to break their streak
. Firth might still be the team
with the best shot as the return 2 in the top 20 and a few other good young runners. Beyond that it will
be a toss-up and any number of teams could bring home a trophy.
My picks: 1. Soda, 2. Firth, 3.  
McCall,
4. Nampa Christian, 5. Challis.

Individually-- The defending champ R. Youren (Gooding) moved up to 3A but that doesn't mean the
favorite changed. I believe the favorite is Cierra Simmons (Soda). Although she is only ranked 10th in
the preseason, she is probably the favorite after a stellar track season. I would also assume she will race
State a bit differently this year. Last year the early fast mile between her and T. Newman (WJ) led to a
meltdown by both.  Girls that could challenge her are
C. Hansen (Butte) 2010 State XC Champ, and
then a few teammates in K. Yamauchi or H. Franes.
 My Picks:  1. C. Simmons (Soda) 2. C. Hansen
(Butte) 3. K.
Yamauchi (Soda) 4. K. Traughber (Butte), 5. H. Franes (Soda).
Preseason Predictions
Based on known returning runners and new freshman.