Annalyssa Crain is one of a small handful of undefeated girls this season.
Last year's team raced appeared to be one that would come close, but the girls from FW Carroll turned it into an absolutely dominating team race winning by 64 points putting up just a mere 85 points on the day.
This year looks like it could be a similarly close battle with FW Carroll once again right at the top with a small handful of other strong teams looking to go after that No. 1 spot.
The Carroll ladies come into the meet this weekend as the only undefeated team in the field, having topped both Zionsville and Carmel earlier in the season at the Flashrock Invitational. They also sit roughly as the No. 6 team in the Midwest based on 5K times. With potential individual champion in Zoe Duffus, the Chargers have that very low stick that will prove to be vital come race time. This team looks like one that could have three athletes in the top 25, maybe even four depending on if anyone happens to have their best day on Saturday. But they won't be alone is this big fight for a team title.
The Zionsville ladies are looking to steal that title away from the Carroll ladies and get some revenge after taking 3rd at Flashrock behind Carmel in 2nd. The Lady Eagles had their 2nd biggest challenge of the season just last week against Carmel in the Semi-State. Now the conditions last week likely played a factor in their close win, 86-95. This team knows how to race well at LaVern Gibson and will be right up in the mix Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Greyhounds are back in the conversation to win another team title. Nearly all season the 2x all-stater, Phoebe Bates has been out of racing nearly all season with her first race since County coming just last weekend at semi-state where she ended up 2nd overall. Having her back may prove to be the key this team needed to get back to the top of the podium. Their frontrunner all season, Freshman Jasmine Klopstad will look to lead this squad from the front pack. The Hounds have the great ability of being a tightly packed up team 1-7 and that race plan should come into effect this weekend and be very important in terms of scoring as low as they can.
Columbus North, Brebeuf Jesuit, Noblesville and potentially Bishop Chatard all look like teams that could be just outside the top 3 group contending for a title and will look to make an appearance on the podium.
The individual battle looks to be just as nail biting as the team race with top returners Erin Strzelecki and Annalyssa Crain being two of the favorites to grab that title. Strzelecki has gone undefeated so far this season with her biggest win coming at the Marion Invite where she broke the record and set her PR of 17:24.40. Crain also comes in undefeated, racing 11 times so far this year and most importantly winning the BC Eagle Classic in mid-September.
Also, up near the front, we should see Zoe Duffus, who has been on fire this season and been a key player in the lady Chargers success this season. Karina James of Lowell may just be a sophomore, but she could also be very much up in the mix as well to earn her first state title, and she's also undefeated this season on the grass.
Depending on how this race gets going, we could see a very large pack for a majority of the race up front and the race could come down to who can push out that final K the best on grueling course.