In the classifications we've covered thus far, there hasn't appeared to be many close contests for the state title shaping up. 2A girls may provide a break in the pattern.
Then again, it might not.
The Bosque School would be the wild card here.
Let's be clear, with Caroline Kaufman graduated, nobody in 2A is going to have front runners to rival those of the Bosque School. The Bobcats boast a front three of Jacqueline Katzman, Reiley Kelly, and Kendall Kelly. Nobody in 2A (or 3A, for that matter) really has any answers for that threesome. The rub will lie in what the Bobcats come up with at #4 and #5. By my records, Jenna Kuchar (last year's #5) has graduated, and I have no year of graduation available for Hailey White. White was last year's #4 and, obviously, it stands to make a substantial difference if she's back this year.
Suffice it to say that if the Bosque School does go five deep with strength, this is one freight train that's going to be tough to derail. If they go only three deep with a lot of strength, then that opens some doors for other teams.
Here's a quick glance at the returning runners from the top 50 at last year's state meet (question marks indicate athletes of unknown years of graduation):
2 Jacqueline Katzman Bosque School 19:40.50 2
3 Kendall Kelly Bosque School 20:03.50 3
4 Reiley Kelly Bosque School 20:30.90 4
5 Hannah Antone Navajo Prep 20:50.70 5
6 Shelby Lee Navajo Pine 20:55.10 6
? 7 Amber Manuelito Newcomb 20:55.20 --
8 Drew Todechine Rehoboth 20:56.10 7
10 Valene Madalena Jemez Valley 20:58.00 9
11 Amira Cunningham East Mountain 21:03.90 10
12 Jocelyn Riley Laguna Acoma 21:07.60 11
14 Delta Higdon Navajo Prep 21:14.20 13
15 Brandi Reano Navajo Prep 21:15.50 14
16 Jennifer Lewis Rehoboth 21:16.80 15
17 Marcella Sanchez Penasco 21:18.50 16
18 Cassie C De Baca Pecos 21:22.10 17
19 Elicia Sanchez Penasco 21:22.70 18
21 Demetria Clichee Navajo Pine 21:36.30 20
22 Jordan Ide Rehoboth 21:40.70 21
?23 Haley White Bosque School 21:42.00 22
24 Lacey Natseway Laguna Acoma 21:42.10 23
25 Briana Burns Estancia 21:43.20 24
26 Santiana Marrujo Mora 21:43.30 25
27 Janice Chacon Coronado 21:46.40 --
28 Kaitlin Chee Navajo Pine 21:48.00 26
?29 Talynn Turner East Mountain 21:49.10 27
30 Crystal Hernandez Tucumcari 21:50.60 28
31 Ashley Joe Navajo Prep 21:51.10 29
?32 Sophie Quay-De La Va Santa Fe Prep 22:07.10 30
33 Ida Valencia Pecos 22:12.10 31
34 Mikayla Calhoon Estancia 22:12.60 32
35 Jenna Kuchar Bosque School 22:19.60 33
36 Julia Martinez Mesa Vista 22:21.30 --
?37 Brandy Olivas Tucumcari 22:25.00 34
?38 Kaitlyn Sisneros Santa Rosa 22:25.20 --
39 Ashley Carlisle Rehoboth 22:27.50 35
40 Erin Schulhofer Santa Fe Prep 22:30.70 36
41 Ashley Lujan Estancia 22:33.20 37
42 Marilyn Werito Tse Yi Gai 22:43.80 --
43 Vanisha Sam Navajo Prep 22:45.30 38
?44 Emma Thompson ATC 22:53.60 --
45 Arielle Mattes Santa Fe Prep 22:54.80 39
46 Chantel Rivera Mora 23:01.80 40
48 Seneca Riley Laguna Acoma 23:07.60 41
50 Taylor Bacon Desert Academy 23:09.20 --
It's not difficult to see the advantage that the Bosque School holds, but pending the answering of a few questions that the first meet or two of the season should help to answer, there are some other schools that could potentially be very much in the race. Among those are Rehoboth, Navajo Prep, and possibly Navajo Pine as well.
As has been our custom in this series of articles, the next thing we look at it is the 2A 3200 rankings from this spring. There are only 3200 records for 29 returning runners for 2A, and this is how they shake out:
Although Jacqueline Katzman eschewed the 3200 this spring, Bosque's strength is once again evident in these rankings. But, what also jumps out is the presence of four Rehoboth runners on the list. And, whatever else Bosque's other cross country runners may have done this past spring, it wasn't distance events in track and field. So, there was great opportunity for other teams to close the gap on Bosque at 4 and 5.
The sum of those factors would suggest that Rehoboth might be a good deal closer than the Bobcats would like to think. The other schools which might conceivably be in the trophy hunt, schools like Navajo Prep, Navajo Pine, Zuni, and Penasco, were lightly represented, if at all, in the 3200 this spring and may have need to work on closing the gap once again for this fall.
As usual, the disclaimer about the impact of incoming freshmen (or eighth graders, as the case may be) applies.
While I try not to have rooting interests in these races, I confess there is a bit of one present for me in 2A. A former runner of mine, and a key member of two state championship teams while she was in high school, has been part of the coaching staff at Rehoboth for a few years now. I don't know if the plans are to continue in that role this fall, but there is no small amount of satisfaction in seeing the team she's involved with enjoy some success. So, here's a shout out to you, Jessi Miller!