Zionsville will be one of the favorites going into the season. Last year, they finished second at the state finals and have a good shot this year to improve 1 spot and ultimately win the state title. Katelyn Wasson will be a huge factor, as she is the top returner on the team. If she can improve from her 15th place last year, that will give Zionsville the help they need to vy closer to the state title. This team looks solid, and should be a team we hear about all season.
Valparaiso is one of the teams we think has a great shot at a podium finish this year. They took home 13th last year. Ava Gilliana has the potential to finish in the top 10 which will be huge for Valpo. Behind Gilliana, is the Worthington sisters. If those 2 can bring their times under 19, that will definitely bring the team closer to a podium finish.
The defending state champions. It only makes since to bring them into the conversation again this year. They do lose a few key pieces that got them the state title last year, but we don't think that will stop Caroll from defending their title. Monroe Fruhey had an outstanding season last year, and if she can continue the momentum into 2019 that will be huge for Carroll. Zoe Duffus has had some struggles in her past with injuries, but hopefully she is past that and primed to get back to running sub-18 minute 5K's. Brooke Hansen should also be looking to have a breakthrough season. This team is a serious threat.
Carmel will be another team to think about when it comes to potential teams that could win the state title. Phoebe Bates didn't quite have the year we expected last year, but coming in as a senior she should be ready to make a statement. We know what she is capable of, but will she be able to pull some of her teammates along to stay closer to the front with her? Their top 7 can all run faster than 19:20. If they can manage to tighten up that 1-5 group even just by a few seconds they will begin to look like that Carmel team we all know and fear come tournament time.
A team you probably didn't expect to see on this list, but one who could quickly garner some attention. Last year, they didn't even make an appearance as a team at state. They did have 2 individuals qualify, Gillian Cridge and Audrey McKinney. Both will return this season, which will be important as they have experience on a tough state course. Based on last seasons PR's their top 5 sit at an average of 19 minutes. The key for the Lady Irish here will be for their 4 and 5 runners to get those times a little faster, hopefully around 19:30 or faster.