Talia Dreicer returns the top 5K time for Los Alamos next fall, but it will be something of an accomplishment just to stay ahead of her own teammates. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Things have a way of changing over a period of several months, but if you had to pick a favorite for 5A girls going into 2014, you'd probably pick more of the same--as in Los Alamos. The green magic doesn't look to be running into short supply.
It was a young Hilltopper team that won state this fall, and most of those faces are back for next fall, including sub-19 types like Talia Dreicer, Madison Foley, Nica Vasquez, and Sophia Galvez. You probably don't need to be reminded of how unusual it is for a New Mexico girls team, any New Mexico girls team, to have four proven sub-19s heading into a season.
Closest to Los Alamos is Albuquerque Academy, and the Chargers are probably closer than the analysis below would suggest. What AA desperately needs, though, are a few girls to smash through the boundaries of their performances this fall and establish new boundaries well ahead of where they were this fall for next fall. Cameren Kristensen and Erin Archibeck are the proven leaders, but there is certainly room for more to step up.
St. Pius X still comes in as the #3 ranked team in their classification next fall, but they will feel the graduation of their two biggest guns. Hannah Baca proved this fall she is ready to step up into a leadership kind of role, but the Sartans need more to follow if they are to fill the Reagan/Giannini void.
The only other team that is remotely close at this point is Piedra Vista. And you can't help but notice that the Panthers keep getting better with each new year under coach Sampson Sage. Could 2014 be the year that PV moves into a trophy position? It certainly seems possible, though it is also less than a given seen from this vantage point. We'll wait and see what next year holds, but PV starts with a proven trio in Cassandra Crowell, Paris Chee, and Payton Kee.
Individually, you don't count out any of Los Alamos' sub-19s, but you look also at Arena Lewis of Belen, Carisma Lovato of Valencia--who had a huge race at NXR-SW, Britani Gonzalez and Regina Marquez of Santa Teresa, and perhaps a few others.