5A Boys
Team--Last year I picked as preseason favorite Rocky Mountain for a second time, they did not
disappoint in 2012 but in 2013 they ended up 3rd. A young Capital squad continued to improve
throughout the season and pulled off an upset over Mountain View who beat them the week before at
District. Mountain View likewise was a very young team so these two should square off again this year
in a great team battle. Based on State results Capital would be the favorite, but based on District results
Mountain View would have the bulleyes on them. Rocky Mountain still looks respectable with Garrett
Plant and Michael Slagowski. Lake City does return the dynamic duo of Jake Finney & Kyler Little
who finished 4th & 5th respectfully last year and could lead them to a trophy. Madison and Hillcrest
were both young and good last year, so they may surprise out of the 6th District. I feel these six teams
are the early favorites to garner the coveted Blue Trophy in November, but the 5A ranks are so
competitive and there is always a surprise team that steps up during the season.  Looking at returners,
there might be one other team that may break this group up; Vallivue (had a young crew last year),  
Based on the last years info. I'm picking them this way as MV was best most of the year and at Firman
course they crushed. 1. Mountain View, 2. Capital, 3. Madison, 4. Lake City, 5. Rocky Mountain, 6.
Vallivue.

Individually-- 2012 Champ and 2013 runner-up Dwain Stucker (Meridian) is the clear preseason
favorite. But based on the 2013 Track season Stucker ran well but there are a few others that stood out
a little more than Stucker. Lake City's Kyler Little was 2nd in the 3200, and Freshman M. Slagowski
(RM) ran 4:16 for 2nd in the 1600. Then MV had N. Horsburgh go 4th in 4:18 in the 1600 m. There
was just a bunch of fast times and tight races. The 5A is so tough and there are so many great runners
this is a tough call.  My picks: 1. K. Little (Lake City) best 3200, 2. Dwain Stucker (Meridian) past
champ watch out, 3. M. Slagowski (Rocky Mountain) rising star, 4. N. Horsburgh (Mountain View)
very fast, 5. N. Hamilton (Vallivue), 6. D. Schultz (Capital).

5A Girls
Team--I picked this right the last two years. Many doubted me in 2012 as CDA was an upstart group
but it was a no brainer pick in 2013 as they dominated 2012. CDA again dominated in 2013 as 4 of
them again finished in the top 10, but #5 was a bit back which allowed Boise with good pack running to
be close. Both teams didn't lose a single girl to graduation from their top 5, so this should be a tough
battle again between the two. These two are the favorites but watch out for Rocky Mountain, Idaho
Falls and Mountain View. Each of these teams return a great deal of talented runners and a lot depends
on who had the best summer. We also don't know about the new freshman, these girls seem to always
change the landscape of the state for girls. So my picks: 1. Cd'A, 2. Boise, 3. Idaho Falls, 4. Rocky
Mountain, 5. Mountain View, 6. Vallivue.

Individually--They are all finally Seniors. I am speaking of Emily Hamlin (Boise), Mikayla Malaspina
(Vall) and the CDA trio of Josie Brown, Krista & Kara Story. These girls have had a major impact the
past 3 years taking the top 3 place the past years. Last year Josie didn't fair so well and E. Hamlin
wasn't in the top 3 but did finish 4th.  Malaspina has probably been the most consistent and with a
Footlocker birth last year may be the favorite. However Emily Hamlin had the best track season of any
distance runner in the History of Idaho as she won the 800/1600/3200 in incredible times. If she
continues what she started in the spring she may be untouchable. She has already won 2 titles but was
denied last year by Sam McKinnon (MV) of 3 in a row and the 4-time title. She is back, but by no
means untouchable as Malaspina could give her a great race. I think these two are the clear standouts
but again a lot can change during the summer. I'll throw out a few others with a chance of being in the
mix to win. Erin Hagen (MV) ran a great 1600 last spring, Sara Musselman (RM) solid all the way
around, Sara Christianson (Borah) just strong and consistent, and then don't count out the CDA trio.
My Preseason picks: 1. E. Hamlin (Boise), 2. M. Malaspina (Vall), 3. S. Christianson (Borah) 4. S.
Musselman (RM) 5. Krista Story (CDA), 6. E. Hagen (MV).

4A Boys
Team--Pocatello has won 3 in a row now, and the news I have received tells me they got 2 new
Armstrong's out of Utah. Yes, Armstrong cousins moved back to Pocatello and will fill the hole left by
the Herndon twins. They may be even better than last year and that is scary for the rest of 4A. There
doesn't seem to be a team returning anything close to challenging Pocatello, but I have been proven
wrong before, so somebody step up. I really can't find a team to even highlight, maybe Bishop Kelly or
Moscow or throw a dart and you will do as well as I am predicting this division. Blackfoot might be the
surprise here. They didn't even qualify last year, but the Thomas boys moved in from Snake River.  
Three very strong runners a freshman, sophomore, and senior. I just don't know what else is there to
help them out. So, after Pocky this Division is really up in the air. My Preseason picks:  1. Pocatello,  
2. Bishop Kelly, 3. Blackfoot, 4. Nampa, 5. Kuna, 6. Middleton.

Individually--Like the last 2 years, I will be of course picking Elijah Armstrong (Pocatello) to win this
year. Barring a major injury Elijah is going to do something no other runner in the history of Idaho has
ever done, Boy or Girl. WIN 4 CROSS COUNTRY STATE INDIVIDUAL STATE TITLES. He
already broke the 3200 m record and won the triple at State Track. Who can stop him? Maybe, his
brother Malachi, or one of his cousins. One other possible runner might spoil his title run, Freshman
Derek Thomas (Blackfoot). This freshman won the Footlocker Middle School race last year in
California, and just won the national Hersey and USATF 800 m titles this summer in 2:00.something.
He might do what Elijah did to another great 4A runner Eric Harris (TF), that is, the young freshman
pulled the upset over the senior. My Picks: 1. E. Armstrong (Poc), 2. D. Thomas (Blackfoot), 3. M.
Armstrong (Poc), 4. D. Elia (BK), 5. ? Armstrong (Poc).

4A Girls
Team--. One point, 1 point, that's all that separated Sandpoint from Preston last year. Again Sandpoint
wasn't even on last years preseason charts but had a great 2013 led by a group of underclass girls. That
bodes well for Sandpoint again this year as 5 return. Preston return just 3 and lose State champ Caitlyn
Elgan, so they don't appear on paper as good as last season. Pocatello which finished 3rd and just 11
points back could be the team to beat as they return 2012 champ R. McGovern back to the squad after
a injury sidelined her last year. Skyview, Bishop Kelly, and Jerome each have a few good returners, but
are really unknown at this time. We will soon find out who has what! I'm sure that a team will emerge
as the season goes, in fact maybe we will have another Sandpoint that will surprise the State. So with
what we have now here are my picks:  1. Pocatello, 2. Sandpoint, 3. Bishop Kelly, 4. Preston, 5.
Skyview, 6. Jerome.  

Individually--Senior Caitlin Elgan (Preston) ran a very smart race to win by 10 seconds over
Sophomore Molly Vitale-Sullivan (Pocatello) and freshman Katherine Ruck (Moscow). So you might
think Molly would be the favorite, but based on track this spring there are a few others to consider. 800
m champ Rainey Woodward and I'm guessing, her sister Mikhaela 2nd in the 1600 are two strong
contenders. Then 1600 champ and 2012 XC champ Rachel McGovern is back and would be now the
favorite. But wait, Rachel Cannon (Blackfoot) won the 3200 on the track and could pull off the win. A
few others in the hunt: Katherine Ruck (Moscow), & Brook Chilton (Century). This will be a great race
in November. So My Picks: 1. R. McGovern (Poc), 2. R. Cannon (Blackfoot), 3. K. Ruck (Moscow),
4. M. Vitale-Sullivan, 5. M. Woodward (Sand), 6. R. Woodward (Sand).

3A Boys-  
Team--The last year two years I picked Snake River to win it all, but once again I guessed wrong in the
preseason.  There are just to many variables that play into each season. Who knew a sophomore group
from Shelley would emerge the way they did and with the addition of a foreign exchange student shock
the State. Teton not as strong still ran as a team and continued their streak of trophies in 2013.  
Timberlake in 2013 also ran well. The question is who will step up in 2014. Shelley with their returning
Juniors and led by State Champ Austin Stewart are the clear preseason favorites. I would have put
Snake River back in one of the favorite rolls with 3 Thomas boys and Van Orden, but the Thomas
group as you read above moved to Blackfoot. Teton, Timberlake and Kimberly return a few good
runners but lost a few seniors so are a question mark in 2014. There are a number of other teams that
could surprise and are also big ? marks. So who do I pick?  My preseason picks: 1. Shelley 2.
Timberlake, 3. Teton, 4. Kimberly, 5. Bonners Ferry, 6. Sugar-Salem.

Individually--This is a no brainer with defending champ Austin Stewart (Shelley) back and just a
junior.  He also dominated the 3200/1600 at track and might be one of the top runners at any division
this year. The question is who can possibly compete with Stewart? Joseph Van Orden (SR) is the next
best underclassmen from last year and definitely one of the best. A few other possible contender are:
Eliseo Garcia (Gooding), Chase Barrow (Shelley), Mark Crandall (Shelley) & James Letham (Teton). I
haven't heard of any new stars anywhere so here are my Picks: 1. A. Stewart (Shelley), 2. J. Van
Orden (SR) 3. M. Crandall (Shelley) 4. E. Garcia (Gooding), 5. C. Barrow (Shelley).

3A Girls
Team--Sugar-Salem made it two Championships in a row last year. With 2-time champ Olivia Redd
gone and top 20 seniors Katelyn Hill & Bethany Larson also gone, 3A will look differently this year.
But maybe not too different as Sugar returns Indya Price 5th, Shaylee Hill 9th,  Hanna Larson 11th,
and Rachael Galbraith 22nd which looks promising for another title run. However, Shelley returns
Cambria Hassell 2nd, Klarissa Anderson 6th, Paytin Drollinger 8th, and LeAnn Larkin 23rd which put
them as preseason favorites. Snake 3rd last year lost the Van Orden's Quincy & Cierra but return a
good group. Timberlake 4th last year with a solid group of underclassmen could be the big surprise this
year. Natalie Herring 7th and the sophomore Hammond twins will probably lead the way for Coach
Lawler young team. Emmett also moves down, but doesn't appear to have a returning squad to make
much damage. This one is a hard one for me to pick but based on returning runners here you go. My
preseason picks:  1. Shelley, 2. Sugar Salem, 3. Timberlake, 4. Parma, 5. Snake River, 6. Buhl.

Individually--Two defending Champs have graduated Olivia Redd (Sugar) and Rachel Youren
(Gooding). With them gone there is no clear favorite. Cambria Hassell (Shelley) was last years
runner-up, but didn't impress during the track season. Who was impressive on the track 3200 m champ
Harlie Sorrell (Parma) and 1600 m champ Paytin Dollinger (Shelley). I would probably think one of
these two young ladies should be the early favorite. Based on track it seems Dollinger has a little more
speed but Sorrell a little more strength, so Sorrell looks to be the one to beat in XC. A few other girls
that could win in November are Cambria Hassell 2013 runner-up, Indya Price (Sugar), 3200 m
runner-up Shaylee Hill (Sugar) and Natalie Herring (Timberlake). The great unknowns are the new
freshman and move-ins. I'm sure one will surprise. My Picks: 1. H. Sorrell (Parma), 2. Shaylee Hill
(Sugar) I'm biased, 3. Paytin Dollinger (Shelley), 4. Indya Price (Sugar), 5. Cambria Hassell (Shelley).

2A Boys
Team--I picked this correct last year, despite the fact Logos had won the year before and returned
almost everyone. I went out on a limb and chose Soda, and the didn't disappoint. Defending champs
Logos lost Paul Ryan half way through the 2013 race and ended up 5th last year. CDA Charter also ran
well finishing 3rd in 2013 as they chased Soda being lead by Champion Leif Fredericks. CDA returns a
good core of Juniors and look to be solid again. Almost all these squads above have lost a bit to
graduation. The team that may then be the favorite finished 3rd last year and returns one of the top
runners in the division, this is West Side led by Carlton Baird. They return their top 5 and all were
tough. Watch out for them. The rest of the State is a mystery as many seniors have moved on to
greener pasture.  This is a little harder this year. So my preseason picks: 1. West Side, 2. Logos, 3.
CDA Charter, 4. Soda Springs, 5. Victory Charter, 6. Salmon.  

Individually-- OK I believe there is just two names that should be mentioned for the State Title, Paul
Ryan (Logos) and Carlton Baird (West Side). These two swept the triple at State Track 800/1600/3200.
Ryan at 1A with state records, and Baird in 2A. Both were dominate and together could really run fast
at Firman. After Ryan and Baird the top contenders will probably be Joshua Balls (Soda), Billy Godfrey
(Salmon), Wyatt Smith (Soda), or Marshall Wheeler (Victory C). So my picks: 1. P. Ryan (Logos), 2.
C. Baird (WS), 3. J. Balls (Soda), 4. B. Godfrey (Salmon), 5. J. Bowman (Soda), 6. M. Wheeler (VC).

2A Girls-  
Team--Soda Springs has now won Eight Team Titles in a row, but unlike last year they don't return a
huge group of seniors. In fact of their top 5 which were if you remember also the top 5 overall 4 were
seniors. Gone are Yamauchi, the Nielsen twins, and Call. Does this mean Soda is done, I doubt it. If
you have watched their Middle School the cupboard is still pretty full. The good news or others in this
division is that they may be a little vulnerable with such good leadership gone. Who can step up and
challenge. I think the best shot is Salmon. I've watched them the past years and they have a very
talented group that definitely have the ability but do they have the work ethic and drive. This is the
question. Nobody else seems to be able to challenge. A few others that may have an impact on the
trophies. Melba were runner-up and are led by S. Manzer a top contender. Firth has a solid group, and
CDA Charter look good. My picks: 1. Soda, 2. Salmon, 3. CDA Charter, 4. Firth, 5. Melba, 6. Oakley.

Individually-- Once again my preseason favorite let me down here last year. I picked defending champ
Sierra Manzer (Melba) and she struggled. It was either with the course or the elevation I'm not sure but
she finished 6th, right behind 5 Soda runners. So only one girl beat her and that was freshman A. White
of Soda. So Alexa White is the top returner and definitely one of the favorites. Another of the favorites
is Abby Critchfield (Oakley) she had a great track season, and the best times on the track of any.
Bethany Danner (MD), M. Smith (Salmon), and Addi Newman (WJ) are a few others I think that have
a shot. So my Picks:  1. S. Manzer (Melba) 2. A. Critchfield (Oakley) 3. A. Newman (WJ), 4. A. White
(Soda), 5. B. Danner (MD), 6. M. Smith (Salmon).

Best of Luck to All Runners and Teams this Year!!!!
2014 XC Pre Season Predictions
Based on known returning runners and new freshman.