Team--Last year in the preseason I picked Mountain View to win it with Capital second and Madison
third. Madison was the only one to disappoint me. MV and Capital battled with MV winning the title
by 50 points over Capital. In 2015 Mountain View returns most of last years State Championship
squad so they have the bulleyes on them. Teams that will have the best shot to knock MV off the top
are: Rocky Mountain they will be strong and have one of the State's favorites in Michael Slagowski,
Borah I think this year will be strong with the rise last year of freshman Siyad Matan, Boise returns a
solid group, and Highland returns a solid core that could make a run. I feel these five 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. Based on what I know right now
I'm picking them this way:
1. Mountain View, 2. Rocky Mountain, 3. Borah, 4. Boise, 5. Highland, 6. Vallivue.
Individually-- The top returner is Mountain View's Noah Horsburgh who was 5th in 2014. However
the favorite title has to be on the shoulders of Michael Slagowski of Rocky Mountain as he dominated
the three distance races on the track and was one of the best in the country in the Mile. He has it all
with strength and speed and is on a solid team for added support. There are a few others that deserve
being mentioned: Issac Kunz (IF) solid last year and strong on the track in 2014, Garrett Calhoun
(Timberline) great track season also, Borah's Siyad Matan just figuring things out ,watch out. I'm sure
somebody else will surprise. The 5A is so tough and there are so many great runners this is a tough one
and I am usually wrong. So My Picks: 1. M. Slagowski (Rocky Mountain), 2. N. Horsburgh
(Mountain View), 3. S. Matan (Borah), 4. I. Kunz (IF), 5. J. Davis (Capital), 6. A. Jones (MV).
Team--I picked this right the last three years as CDA was hard to pick against. This year CDA won't be
the favorite as they lost so much to graduation, but still could be in the mix for a trophy led by #2
returner C. Conway. The favorite however based on last years top returnees looks to be Timberline as
they have 4 in the top 20 and almost all 5. The other teams that look good on paper going into 2015 is
Eagle, and Rocky Mountain. Eagle returns 3 top 20 from 2014, and Rocky 2 solid girls that also had a
great track season. The surprise team might be Mountain View as they too had a good group on the
track and looked poised to make a run in 2015. I'm sure there will also be a team which surprises,
that's what make this so fun in 5A. So My Picks: 1. Timberline, 2. Rocky Mountain, 3. Mountain
View, 4. CDA, 5. Eagle, 6. Madison.
Individually--The FAB 5 finally graduated: Emily Hamlin (Boise), Mikayla Malaspina (Vall), Josie
Brown, Krista & Kara Story (CDA). These girls have had a major impact the past 4 years taking almost
all the top 5 place the past 4 years. They have set records on the track, been part of National Teams,
won more State Titles and medals than we can count. The three CDA ladies have led their teams to 3
consecutive Team Titles and the first Idaho team to earn an NXN birth. With the stars gone who is
going to step up? I think we need not look much beyond the top returner Sara Christianson (Borah).
She has continued to improve each year inching closer to the Fab 5. In fact she beat them all but
Hamlin on the track and if her track season is an indicator of what is to come, watch out. Other
favorites are Caitlyn Conway (CDA), MaKenna Shuler (MV), Rachael Morin (Madison), Ashlyn Dyer
(IF), and Faith Dilmore (RM). These girls should all be in the title hunt but, My Preseason picks: 1. S.
Christianson (Borah) 2. C. Conway (CDA) 3. M. Shuler (MV), 4. R. Morin (Madison), 5. A. Dyer (IF).
Team--Pocatello has now won 4 in a row, but gone is 4 time Champ Elijah Armstrong. The bad news
for the rest of the state is that they get another freshman Armstrong that turned heads in the mile as an
8th grader running 4:42. He is the younger brother to Caden & Chresten. So 5 titles look to be in the
future. 4A teams need to step up as I once again can't find a team returning anything close to
challenging Pocatello. The next best three teams appear to be Preston, Blackfoot and Bishop Kelly.
These teams return 3 or almost 3 to the top 20 this preseason. Kuna is another that could surprise. I
just don't think anyone can touch Pocatello, but anything is possible. My Preseason picks: 1.
Pocatello, 2. Preston, 3. Bishop Kelly, 4. Kuna, 5. Blackfoot, 6. Rigby.
Individually-- HE DID IT!! ELIJAH WON 4 CROSS COUNTRY STATE INDIVIDUAL STATE
TITLES. Now He is gone!! Who will rise to the challenge? Maybe, his brother Malachi, or one of his
cousins. How about Derek Thomas (Blackfoot), M. Cervantes (BK), J. Frey (Skyview) or C. Stone
(Caldwell). Maybe this new freshman Armstrong (Caleb) that has been all the rage in the Middle
School ranks will do what Elijah did to another great 4A runner Eric Harris (TF), that is, the young
freshman pulled the upset over all the senior. My Picks: 1. M. Armstrong (Poc), 2. D. Thomas
(Blackfoot), 3. ? Armstrong (Poc), 4. M. Cervantes (BK), 5. ? Armstrong (Poc), 6. ? Armstrong (Poc).
Team--. This the past few years has been the closest battle of teams. It has often come down to a
single point, and often the top 4 are separated by just a few points. Sandpoint has come out on the
winning end often and did again last year again. Pocatello had a great State race and almost pulled off
the win last year, and could race for the blue trophy again. The other two teams that are returning a
good group is Preston, and Twin Falls. Each have a good history and return a young talented squad.
Century have a couple top returners and may build upon their 3rd place finish in 2014. Likewise
Jerome looks to improve on their 2014 finish and have a group to do it. We will soon find out who has
what! I'm sure that a team will emerge as the season progresses. So My picks: 1. Sandpoint, 2.
Preston, 3. Pocatello, 4. Twin Falls, 5. Jerome, 6. Century.
Individually-- Defending champ Katherine Ruck (Moscow) is back and was strong in the 3200 m in
2015. So she is the favorite, but based on track this spring there are a few others to consider. Michelle
Pratt (Blackfoot) raced incredible winning the 800, and 2nd in the 1600. She has to be considered a
major challenger and Co-favorite. Three Pocatello girls also will mix things up in this division. Two
from Pocatello High, Molly Vitale-Sullivan & Rachel McGovern, and one from Century, Brook
Chilton. With these three racing week in and week out, watch out. Likewise from the same District is
Preston's Billie Hatch and she will be in the hunt. This will be a great race in November. So My Picks:
1. M. Pratt (Blackfoot), 2. K. Ruck (Moscow), 3. M. Vitale-Sullivan (Pocatello), 4. B. Hatch (Preston),
5. R. McGovern (Pocatello).
Team--Last year I finally picked this right going with defending champs Shelley. Now Shelley has 2
consecutive titles, and return all their top 5. Not good news for the rest of 3A. However Sugar-Salem
almost pulled off the upset last year with a deeper squad putting all seven runners ahead of Shelley's
#5. It just wasn't enough. Sugar has the returners to do this again, but need to move their front
runners up a bit on Shelley to have a chance. Timberlake returns the next best group with 3 in the
preseason top 20 and 2 other bubble runners. The question is who will step up in 2015. Emmett, Filer,
and Snake River all return a few good runners but lost a few seniors so are a question mark in 2015.
So being bias who do I pick? My preseason picks: 1. Sugar-Salem 2. Shelley, 3. Timberlake, 4.
Emmett, 5. Snake River, 6. Filer.
Individually--Again this might be a no brainer with 2 time defending champ Austin Stewart (Shelley)
back. He also dominated the 3200/1600 at track the past two years and might be one of the top
runners at any division this year. The question is who can possibly compete with Stewart? Runner-up
Jace Hymas (Sugar) has progressed the most. Going from non-state qualifier as a Sophomore to State
Runner-up as a Junior. Joseph Van Orden (SR) has been close ever since he was a freshman and this
might be his year. A few other possible contender are: 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. Hymas (Sugar) 3. J. Van Orden (SR) 4. M. Crandall (Shelley), 5. C. Garner
(Sugar), 6. C. Barrow (Shelley).
Team--The Shelley girls won in 2014 pulling the team sweep as they were dominate over defending
champs Sugar-Salem. Shelley returns 4 of their 5 all of which finished in the top 11 so they look very
dominate again. They are led by defending champ K. Anderson and 3rd place finisher P. Drollinger.
These two bring a wealth of experience and should lead them back to a State Title. Teams that will
challenge them are: Timberlake which ran a great race finishing second last year, Sugar which is
returning all their top 5. Emmett which moved down last year, could also do some 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. Emmett, 5. Buhl, 6. Snake River.
Individually--Klarissa Anderson (Shelley) won a close battle between Kassidy Hammond & Paytin
Drollinger (Shelley). They are all back and I would probably think one of these three young ladies
should win it again. Based on track it seems Anderson has a little more speed but Drollinger &
Hammond have a little more strength. So since this is XC P. Drollinger is the odds on favorite. A few
other girls that could pull off the upset in November are, Indya Price (Sugar), Shaylee Hill (Sugar) and
Harlie Sorrell (Parma). The great unknowns are the new freshman and move-ins. I'm sure one will
surprise. My Picks: 1. P. Drollinger (Shelley), 2. K. Hammond (Timberlake), 3. Indya Price (Sugar), 4.
K. Anderson (Shelley), 5. S. Hill (Sugar), 6. H. Sorrell (Parma).
Team--Last year I picked West Side led by track star Carlton Baird, but they never lived up to their
rankings. Instead it turned out to be a battle between the two 2A/1A powerhouses, Soda Springs &
Logos. All year Logos looked unbelievable led by one of the best in the nation Paul Ryan. However
Soda ran the perfect race at State. I've said this might be one of the best step-up performance I've ever
seen in the history of XC in Idaho. On paper Soda had no chance, but they knocked off Logos in a big
way and made one of the most exciting races of the day. With Logos moving to the new 1A Division,
Soda is again the strong favorite. In fact I can't find a team that will even challenge them, maybe CDA
Charter can scare them. (As a side note: I've always wanted to go back to 2 Divisions like we had
when I ran at Malad in 1984. Class A & Class B that was something when you won. It made us feel at
little Malad like giant killers when we beat Moscow & Madison for the title. Now we have 5
Division???) I just hope somebody in 2A will step up and give Soda a race or this might be a bore. So
my preseason picks: 1. Soda, 2. CDA Charter, 3.Salmon, 4. Melba, 5. Firth, 6. ????.
Individually-- Gone is Paul Ryan (Logos) and Carlton Baird (West Side). The top contenders will
probably be between the Soda Trio of Joshua Balls, Wyatt Smith, or Riley Smith. Maybe Dillon Emery
(CDA Ch.) or Rylan Manzer (Melba) will break up this trio. So my picks: 1. J. Balls (Soda), 2. R.
Manzer (Melba) (WS), 3. R. Smith (Soda), 4. W. Smith (Soda), 5. D. Emery (CDA Ch.).
Team--Soda Springs has now won nine Team Titles in a row, tying them with the likes of the great
boys streaks of Jerome, & Firth. They could stand alone this year if they win 10, which is highly
likely. The only 2A squad that right now appears to present a possible challenge is Salmon. They have
the girls, just need to put a great race together and then watch out Soda. Who else can step up and
challenge. Maybe Melba, McCall-Donnelly, Firth, or Bear Lake. Again right now, no one returns
enough to even be close. I hope we get a new group of freshman that step up, otherwise again this will
be a two team battle. My picks: 1. Soda, 2. Salmon, 3. McCall-Donnelly, 4. CDA Charter, 5. Firth, 6.
Individually-- In 2014 I picked S. Manzer (Melba) and this time she came through winning in a big
way. She's gone so. Guess what? Once again the two top returners are from Soda, Kathryne
McCullough & Alexa White. However a freshman from McCall Laurel Crawford was right on their
heels. I think the battle for the title will come down to one of these three, unless there is a new
freshman that emerges. Wait, there is another tough runner I forgot Megan Brogan (Bear Lake), she
will also be in the mix and may pull off the upset. This is the short list. So my Picks: 1. K.
McCullough (Soda), 2. M. Brogan (BL), 3. L. Crawford (MD), 4. A. White (Soda), 5. E. Stenlund
Team--Logos is the 1A team that has been hot lately, but Challis was the first 1A to win a State Title
since Leadore won the 1st Unofficial State Title in 1963. These are probably two of the top 1A
programs, but there are a few others looking to win the 1st 1A State Trophy. Logos is the favorite, but
Deary, Valley and the Charters (Victory/Liberty) look poised to make a run too. It will interesting to
see who can bring home the first 1A Title. So my preseason picks: 1. Logos, 2. Deary, 3. Liberty
Charter, 4. Valley, 5. Victory Charter, 6. ????.
Individually-- Gone is 1A great Paul Ryan (Logos). The top returner is Marshall Wheeler (Victory
Charter) followed by Jackson Dickison (Logos) and Josiah Anderson (Logos). These 3 are the best
bets to win the first 1A Title. So my picks: 1. M. Wheeler (VC), 2. J. Dickison (Logos), 3. J. Anderson
(Logos), 4. Henry Raff (Comm. School ), 5. E. Plotner (Logos).
Team--There were only 3 teams that qualified for State last year in the 2A/1A ranks. Deary is the top
returning team, having finished 8th at last years State race. The Community School was the next best
team finishing 11th, and Kootenai was 13th. I really can find much on the 1A girls team. My picks: 1.
Deary, 2. Community School, 3. Kootenai, 4. ???????.
Individually-- The clear favorite here is Megan Dye of Logos, she was almost 2 minutes better than
the next best returners Erica Kent (Richfield), Maisie McManus (Deary), and Jillian Culbertson (North
Star Charter). So my Picks: 1. M. Dye (Logos), 2. E. Kent (Richfield), 3. M. McManus (Deary), 4. J.
Culbertson (NS Ch.), 5. J. Billings (IC).
Best of Luck to All Runners and Teams this Year!!!!
|2015 XC Pre Season Predictions
Based on known returning runners and new freshman.