Boys Teams: Bloomington South, Tell City, CAI, Columbus North, Bloomington North, Jennings County, Carmel, Cathedral, Fishers, North Central, Avon, Zionsville, Westview, Concordia Lutheran, Ft. Wayne Carroll, Penn, West Noble, Pendleton Heights, Lowell, Valparaiso, West Lafayette, Crown Point, McCutcheon, Chesterton.
There is no easy way to put this other than it looks like no one is going to beat Carmel this Saturday. This may be the best Carmel team we have seen in a long time. The Carmel boys are always really good, but this group of guys looks to be top notch and unstoppable. The only way I can possibly see them not earning top honors come Saturday, would be if they didn't run their top group or some freak accident took place and Murphy, Grant, Miller and Harris all got injured and couldn't compete at their best. It's been 43 years since the Greyhounds haven't made it to a state championship, that's 42 time consecutively, and they've won it 12 times with the last one being in 2015. The Hounds are led by senior Colin Murphy, who is averaging a 15:32 this season, he looks the be one that can crack into the top 5 individually. All 5 scorers for the hounds should be able to receive all-state honors as well. Their top 5 all placed in the top 20 at the toughest semi-state as well.
The race will be on for who will claim that 2nd place spot. There are about three teams that look to be contenders for it, Fishers, Westview, and Indianapolis Cathedral.
In terms of lowest average time between the top 7, Fisher's holds the top spot with an average of 16:15. They've got an amazing split between 1-5, with just 46 seconds separating them. They have a strong front runner Sam Kuhn, who should be in the top 10. The team had an impressive 3rd place finish at Semi-State, behind Carmel and Cathedral. They have been extremely consistent this season, and just need to keep that up one more time. Expect a top finish from these guys.
Now if anyone is going to give Carmel a real run for the title, it'll be Cathedral. With front-runner Cole Hocker having a super low stick, this group is a decent threat to the Greyhounds. At the semi-state they put up a great score 46-64, to place 2nd. If their #5 can hang with 2-4 a little longer and find a strong finish, the Irish have a real shot at beating Carmel. I don't think they will do it but they will surely make the 'Hounds work a little more. These guys are the real deal this year and with track and summer improvements could be an even bigger contender next season.
Westview this year has been on another level than before. With two great frontrunners, senior Matt Yoder and Richmond Stoltzfus, this could give them a potential big score. Semi-state seemed to be an off day for the team, but with a bounce back this week they have a shot at a top 3 finish.
Other Top 10 Contenders
(no particular order and not all included)
Valparaiso. This team has great experience and has been majorly consistent all year. Collin Huber, senior, has potential for an All-State finish, which is just what the Vikings need if they want to make a podium finish.
North Central. These guys have been overshadowed by their regional and semi-state competitors, but don't count them out. Ian Hunter finished All-State last year, and has had a pretty consistent year with no real shocking performances from the senior. His front-running will be just what the Panthers need, but it'll be up to the remaining 4 to find an extra gear on the straightaway and pass some people to score those low points.
Lowell. The Red Devils finished 3rd at last year's state meet. This year looks like they will drop just slightly lower. It'll be up to Seniors Alec Fleming and Caleb Chapman to perform really well to help the team score low.
Bloomington South. This group of Panthers has a solid pack that will need to work just as well together as they have all season and they can be a top 5 team. Junior, Ian Shaw is a potential All-State finisher who will be a major factor in South placing where they should, 5th.
Avon. Another solid team from the Orioles with good frontrunning. This is their 5th year in a row qualifying for state that it almost feels wrong to not see them there. The don't just come out an race one last time, these guys are here for a top 10 finish and should be able to do that.
Alright final Predictions. Carmel wins, Cathedral 2nd, Fishers 3rd, Westview 4th, Bloomington South, North Central, Valparaiso, Lowell, Avon.