As the cross country season comes nearer, the anticipation will only build. Athletes and teams continue to put in the summer miles, in what they hope is their time to shine. You know what they say, summer miles bring October smiles. The question most people want to know is, who could make some noise this year and possibly win the state title? It's a great argument to have. There's always those teams that show up year after year, and leave with a podium finish. There are teams that have been crawling their way up the rankings over the past few years, and this could be there year to make some noise. We took a look at some teams we think could have a monumental season whether that's a state title or a podium finish. We broke it down into 5 boy's teams, and 5 girl's teams.
Last year, Bloomington South took home a 5th place finish at state. This year, they look on pace to match that and potentially a spot or two higher. They bring back their #1 guy, Jack Gilliard. He currently holds a PR of 15:51 and should bring that time down 20-25 seconds this year which will give Bloomington South valuable points throughout the state tournament. Neal Alderson, their next top returner should improve quite a bit from his current 17:03 PR. On paper, this team has potential and it will come down to how their newer guys can improve.
Carmel has been one of the favorites the last few years and are sure to be for years to come. They took home the state championship last season and can do it all again this year. Michael Moon will lead the team with his current PR of 15:52, with Will Murphy right behind. This team always finds a way to get it done in the end, and it only seems right to consider them one of the favorites this season.
One of the most talked about teams last year, Fishers. They took home a 3rd place finish at the state championship last year. They do lose a lot of guys, but there's a lot of potential talent on that team. Drew Smith is the top returner on the team, and he could have a breakthrough senior season. If Fishers can get their 1-5 split down, they should be a serious contender for a top 5 finish.
Homestead was not the team you were hearing about throughout the season. They came away with an unexpected 10th place finish at state last year. So why is this team on our list? Potential. Looking at their roster, 4 of the top 5 spots will be seniors. That means they have gained experienced, and are ready for the big stage. It will take some work, but the potential is there. Keagan Stuckey holds a PR of 16:17 and we could see a huge leap from him this year. If their top 5 can step up, as with their 5-7 this team could make some unexpected noise come October.
One team we need to watch is Concordia. Reece Gibson will be their #1 returner, with a PR of 15:33 and is in contention to win the individual state title. Their expected top 5 have all gone under 17 already. The next big leap is going sub 16:30, and if a majority of the 5 can get there that will be huge for them come state.