Class 5A

Colorado Springs Metro League

Doherty

Coach: Robert Duensing, ninth years

Boys

Last year: Sixth in region 5

Returning athletes: Matt Blizzard, Sr.; Noah Elliott, Jr.; Brian Kalbach, Sr.

Outlook: “We are a very young team with talent to do well,” Duensing said.

Girls

Last year: Ninth in region 5

Returning athletes: Rachael Blizzard, Sr.; Makayla Cox, Jr.

Outlook: “Youth, youth, youth,” Duensing said. “The majority of our team are freshmen and sophomores. We are excited to see what they can do.”

Notes: The Spartans will open the season with a large preseason race in conjunction with a benefit run in memory of the Doherty team doctor’s family. The event, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Saturday, has raised $34,000 for the Never Alone Foundation since 2011, the Doherty coach said.

Liberty

Coach: Mike Patrizi, second season

Boys

Last year: 12th in region 5

Returning athletes: Caleb Mann, Soph.; Will Phillips, Jr.; Maxx Seminario, Sr.; Antonin Sorrell, Jr.; Will Phillips, Jr.

Other top athletes: Colin Bervig, Soph.; Ben Townsend, Fr.; Will White, Fr.

Outlook: “These boys put in some solid effort and mileage this summer. We’re really excited to see it pay off,” the Liberty coach said.

Girls

Last year: 12th in region 5

Returning athletes: Katherine Gaughan, Jr.; Jaden Knight, Jr.; Mia Ross, Sr.; Kaitlyn Searle, Sr;. Addison Sowells, Sr.; Lauren Stone, Jr.

Other top athletes: Sienna Reyes, Sr.; Lydia Snyder.

Outlook: “This team might be small in numbers, but they’re dedicated to each other, which will make them stronger in the long run,” Patrizi said, also noting the strong leadership of the upperclassmen.

Notes: The Lancers will add two seniors transfers from the East Coast, Patrizi said.

Pine Creek

Coach: Steve Flannery, second season

Boys

Last year: ninth at state, fourth in 4A Region 2

Returning athletes: Caleb Boutelle, Soph.; JJ Hibbard, Sr.; Kenny Hibbard, Sr.; Sean McCauley, Jr.; Eli McFadden, Jr.; Jackson Ponce De Leon, Jr.; Noah Trautner, Jr.

Outlook: “Though it is a blow to the team that an injury has made senior Drew Kroeker, who clocked the team’s two fastest times last year, a question mark for this season, our returning core still constitutes what promises to be the strongest boys team in Pine Creek history. The team placed ninth at state last season (the highest finish for Pine Creek’s boys), and our returning runners are solidly ahead of where they were a year ago. Plus, after sitting out last season due to injury, junior Noah Trautner is poised to reclaim his spot among our team’s leading runners. I’m excited to see this talented and hardworking group work together and push each other to new heights as we face off against our new 5A competition,” Flannery said.

Girls

Last year: 10th at 4A state, third in 4A Region 2

Returning athletes: Nadine Almasri, Jr.; Brooke Coleman, Jr.; Lucy Hart, Soph.; Katie Hibbard, Soph.; Sophia Jung, Sr.; Sydney Wasson, Jr.

Outlook: “We’ve got a strong core returning from a team that achieved considerable success last year,” Flannery said. “ I’m excited to see some of our younger runners step into the leadership roles left by our graduating seniors, to see the girls continue to develop as athletes, and to watch them work together to take on new challenges at the 5A level. We have some promising freshmen joining our veterans, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they will become part of the Pine Creek girls tradition of excellence.”

Rampart

Coach: Robert Young, seventh season

Boys

Last year: Third at state, third in region 5

Returning athletes: Ben Conlin, Soph.; Aaron Dewey, Sr.; Brett Kitzono, Jr.; Bryan Lantzy, Sr.; Max Pizzimenti, Jr.

Outlook: “We are in a reloading situation after losing nearly our whole varsity after last season’s third-place finish,” Young said. “Our varsity will have at least five new members this fall but these guys are eager to get their turn. I expect that we won’t look very good early in the season but will develop into a strong team as the season continues.”

Notes: The Rams’ boys are chasing a seventh consecutive league title, Young said.

Girls

Last year: Eighth at state, fourth in region 5.

Returning athletes: Vanessa Addison, Sr.; Lynzie Kutsner, Sr.; Jordan Peak, Sr.; Emma Perschke, Soph.; Mollie Roder, Soph.

Outlook: “This is probably the best girls team we have had since I’ve been coaching. We were top 10 in the state last fall and only lost one from that squad. It has been since 1994 that a Rampart XC team has won a league title and we are hoping we have the pieces to change that this year,” Young said.

Notes: The Rams’ program record was broken last year by Kyla Ramsey. Young said two runners might be capable of setting a record this season.

Class 4A

Colorado Springs Metro League

Canon City

Coach: Marcy Epperson, 15th year

Boys

Last year: 10th in region 5

Returning athletes: Timothy Gauna, Sr.; Matthew Morgenthaler, Sr.; Zeon Ortega, Sr.; Hunter Wall, Sr.

Other top athletes: Brett Gherna, Fr.; Nathan Pontious, Fr.; Tyler Stewart, Fr.

Outlook: “I’m looking forward to seeing our boys get stronger this season. For most of them, it is their final year of cross country. The goal is to progress as a team and to have fun,” Epperson said. “I’m also excited about our freshmen coming out this fall. I have three young men with amazing running potential. It will be fun to watch them grow and mature the next four years.”

Girls

Last year: Sixth in region 5

Returning athletes: Isabella Adamic, Soph.; Shea Garcia, Sr.; Lucille Grooters, Jr.; Taylor Lee, Sr.; Laiken O’Rourke, Jr.; Ellie Till, Sr.

Outlook: “I’m excited about the potential our girls possess this year. Many experienced athletes are coming back and already know what it takes to train well as a team. It will be a solid season for our female runners this year,” Epperson said.

Notes: Epperson added that most of her runners use cross country to condition for another sport.

Coronado

Coach: Grant Stoughton, second season

Boys

Last year: Eighth in 5A region 5

Returning athletes: Ben Hayes-Lemmon, Jr.; Charlie Schroeder, Jr.; Ben Swanson, Sr.; Eric White, Jr.

Other top athletes: Z Engstrom, Fr.

Outlook: “A lot of young runners,” Stoughton said of his boys. “Our 4x8 (track) team made it to the podium and I think they are working with that momentum.”

Girls

Last year: 12th at 5A state meet, third in region 5

Returning athletes: Grace Abernethy, Jr.; Madeline Morland, Sr.; Faith Roth, Sr.

Other top athletes: Alison Ambuul, Jr.; Shauna Mackey, Sr.; Lauren Strizich, Jr.

Outlook: “A lot of young runners showed up this summer. We will see how they adjust to high school xc,” Stoughton said.

Notes: Coronado is dropping to Class 4A in 2018 after competing in the largest classification a year ago.

Mesa Ridge

Coach: Carl Burgess, 13th year

Boys

Last year: Fifth in region 5

Returning athletes: Nic Alba, Jr.; Tyler Bizzell, Jr.; Nathan Cournoyer, Soph.; Jayden Peterson, Sr.; Matt Roberds, Sr.; Richie Roberds, Sr.

Other top athletes: Aaron Roberds, Fr.

Outlook: “The Roberds twins will be finishing up their stellar cross country careers this season,” Burgess said.

Girls

Last year: Ninth in region 5

Returning athletes: Mica Etsitty, Sr.

Other top athletes: Savanna Eskridge, Jr.; Christina Carlos, Fr.

Outlook: Burgess predicts “Mica Etsitty will lead a young team. Will be exciting to see how the season unfolds for the team.”

The Classical Academy

Coach: Alan Versaw, 19th year

Boys

Last year: 3A state champions, region 2 champions

Returning athletes: Nathan Bone, Sr.; Nathaniel Brim, Soph.; Josiah Cole, Soph.; Aidan Johnston, Sr.; Brendan Johnston, Sr.; Mason Norman, Jr.

Other top athletes: Ryan Flaherty, Fr.; Will Moore, Fr.; Brennan Pieper, Fr.

Outlook: “Excellent competition in 3A,” Versaw said. “(We have) the opportunity to be very good if the guys commit to getting there.”

Girls

Last year: Third at 3A state meet, region 2 champions

Returning athletes: Sarah Burroughs, Sr.; Mickey Curl, Jr.; Katie Flaherty, Sr.; Kaylee Thompson, Sr.

Other top athletes: Kennedy McDonald, Fr.; Rebecca Thompson, Jr.; Sophia Valentine, Fr.

Outlook: Versaw says he expects his 2018 squad will have “A blend of new talent and experienced, an upbeat attitude, and nice team chemistry.”

Widefield

Coach: Erik Nelson, 15th season

Boys

Last year: 12th at state, third in region 5

Returning athletes: Jon Cabrera, Jr.; Miles Mena, Sr.; Ryan Outler, Sr.; Brandon Williams, Soph.

Outlook: The Gladiators are “developing new leaders and depth around them,” according to Nelson.

Girls

Last year: 19th at state, third in region 5

Returning athletes: Caitlyn Anderson, Sr.; Taeya Andrews, Soph.; Alyssa McLean, Soph.; Sophia Mena, Soph.; Maddy Rodrigues, Jr.

Outlook: Nelson says he’s got a “mix of young talent and veteran leaders.”

Pikes Peak Athletic Conference

Air Academy

Coach: Chuck Schwartz, third season

Outlook: We will be competitive as a team and individually,” Schwartz said. “We have a large and talented squad, and we will have some surprises.”

Boys

Last year: Fifth at state, second in region 2

Returning athletes: Ethan Abbs, Jr.; Cal Banta, Sr.; Ben Lumaye, Soph.; Matt Mettler, Jr.; Dillon Powell, Sr.; Matt Storer, Jr.

Girls

Last year: Fourth at state, region 2 champions.

Returning athletes: Paige Embaugh, Sr.; Hailey Gregg, Soph.; Tatum Miller, Jr.; Brook Moss, Soph.; Mackenzie Moss, Sr.; Aubrey Powell, Soph.; Mackie Tate Tygart, Jr.; Ella Jane Urschel, Jr.

Cheyenne Mountain

Coach: Stan Lambros, 26th season

Boys

Last year: 11th at state, second in region 5

Returning athletes: Tristan Barnes, Sr.; Lucas Debiase, Sr.; Chris Montross, Sr.; Peter Quiros, Sr.

Outlook: “Amazing group of leaders with an influx of young talent,” Lambros said of his team.

Girls

Last year: 11th at 4A state, second in region 5

Returning athletes: Emily Chaston, Sr.; Jensen Enterman, Jr.; Brooke Heinecke, Soph.; Anna Warmack, Sr.

Outlook: Lambros called his team “A few veterans mixed with an eager group of incoming runners.”

Lewis-Palmer

Coach: Mike Diamond, third season

Outlook: “We hope to see continued improvement in the performance of our team,” Diamond said.

Boys

Last year: Fifth in region 2

Returning athletes: Isaac Cade, Jr.; Pat Jirele, Jr.; Max Lantz, Jr.; John Morrison, Jr.; Josh Pierce, Sr.; Cooper Shuman, Sr.

Girls

Last year: Sixth in region 2

Returning athletes: Amy Cinnamon, Jr.; Mati Humphreys, Jr.; Giselle Jimenez, Sr.; Aspen Phillips, Sr.; Ayden Phillips, Jr.; Aubrey Savage, Soph.; Haley Wood, Jr.

Palmer Ridge

Coach: Rob Collins, third season

Boys

Last year: 4A state champions, region 2 champions

Returning athletes: Andrew Bluemel, Sr.; Logan Bocovich, Sr.; Brandon Hippe, Sr.; Daemon Kuo, Jr.; Hans Larsen, Jr.; Nate McCoy, Sr.; Alex Murphy, Jr.; Samuel Ndahayo, Sr.; Colin Silva, Jr.; Aleks Solano, Jr.

Other top athletes: Lance Anderson, Fr.; Thomas Fry, Fr.; Samuel Hall, Fr.; Colby Schultz, Fr.

Outlook: “We’ve carried a great tradition the last four years of winning three of the last four state championships and we feel we have a great opportunity again this year. We have always been known for our depth, which has been a huge factor to our continued success,” Collins said.

Girls

Last year: Second at state, second in region 2

Returning athletes: Annie Busath, Jr.; Hope Busath; Maren Busath, Soph.; Riley Colby, Jr.; Clarissa Cunneff, Sr.; Rebeccah Gearhart, Jr.; Emily Gentry, Sr.; Angela Grayson, Sr.; Audrey Gulig, Jr.; Grace Gulig, Jr.; Isabella Prosceno, Soph.; Shelby Wood, Jr.

Other top athletes: Jenna Baker, Fr.; Cheyenne Buckingham, Fr.; Julia Matson, Soph.; Sydney McKenzie, Fr.; Megan Sievert, Jr.; Katie Wotta, Fr.; Olivia Whitted, Jr.

Outlook: “They are a very, very deep team, which keeps me scratching my head, who will be eventually be the top seven by the end of the season,” Collins said. “The one thing they do know is, it takes a team to win. I would not underestimate this team at all. I’m very proud of hard work they have all put in.”

Notes: Collins, who has coached in California and Oregon, added it’s one of the most talented groups of girls he’s coached. Prosceno was a regional champion and took second at state as a freshman.

Vista Ridge

Coach: Lindsay Mock, eighth season

Boys

Last year: Sixth in region 2

Returning athletes: Max Bolke, Sr.

Outlook: “This upcoming season will be exciting to watch the boys run as a team,” Mock said. “We have a solid group of boys who I am looking forward to seeing progress.”

Girls

Last year: Ninth in Class 4A Region 2

Returning athletes: Kearra Hahne, Sr.

Other top athletes: Madi Casorla, Fr.

Outlook: “I am looking forward to seeing all the new members of the team help improve our overall success,” Mock said.

Class 3A

Woodland Park

Coach: Mike Schoudel, fourth year

Last year: Sixth in region 2

Returning athletes: Tyger Ciccarelli, Soph.; Andrew Graber, Soph.; Justin Harrell, Sr.; Cameron Howard, Sr.; Nick Warren, Jr.

Other top athletes: Jaeger Rokey, Sr.

Outlook: “We only lost one of our top seven runners and barely missed going to state last year,” Schoudel said. “Looking to make state this year.”

Tri-Peaks League

Colorado Springs Christian School

Coach: Abbie Morgan, second season

Boys

Last year: Fifth in region 2

Returning athletes: Johan Barstad, Sr.

Outlook: “This season will likely be a rebuilding year with younger, less experienced guys,” Morgan said.

Girls

Last year: Was unable to field a team

Returning athletes: Rachel Ingram, Sr.

Outlook: “Last year we weren’t able to field a girls’ team, but this year we have a strong incoming freshman class ready to compete behind Ingram,” Morgan said.

Notes: Ingram won the Class 3A Region 2 race in 20 minutes, 19.4 seconds and placed eighth at state.

Manitou Springs

Coach: Anna Mack, second season

Boys

Last year: Ninth in region 2

Returning athletes: Brenden Clark, Sr.; Michael Parker, Soph.; Ben Schwartz, Jr.

Other top athletes: Henry Ilyasova, Fr.; Payton Reed, Soph.

Outlook: “We have a very young team this year with untapped talent. It will be exciting to see how they all come together,” Mack said.

Girls

Last year: Eighth in region 2.

Returning athletes: Mollie Anderson, Sr.; Trina Borst, Sr.

Other top athletes: Charlotte Anderson, Fr.; Adele Goodwin, Fr.; Ella Vaillancourt, Fr.

Outlook: “Most of our team is comprised of freshmen who have natural talent, great attitudes and strong work ethic. With the seniors’ leadership and experience it’s going to be a very fun year,” Mack said.

Class 2A

Black Forest League

Colorado Springs School

Coach: Jolly Cunha, fifth season

Boys

Last year: Seventh in region

Returning athletes: Tyler Brown, Sr.; Clay Roles, Jr.; Aaron Yaros, Soph.

Outlook: “We will have a small boys team this year, but our two front-runners are stronger than ever. They boys have put in work this summer to take their performance to the next level this season,” Cunha said.

Girls

Last year: 12th at state, fourth in region 2

Returning athletes: Brooke Ashbridge, Soph.; Kate Griffin, Jr.; Heather Hatch, Soph.; Bailey Reid, Soph.; Hina Suzuki, Jr.

Outlook: “We have every runner returning from last year’s squad and are looking to build on experience to improve on last year’s state meet team and individual finishes,” Cunha said.

Ellicott

Coach: Jim Van Hoesen, 10th season

Boys

Last year: 12th in region 2

Returning athletes: Ben Bridges, Soph.; Ernesto Hernandez, Jr.; Charles Legasse, Jr.; Nicholas Matte, Soph.; William Wood, Jr.

Other top athletes: Jodzuel Juarez, Fr.

Outlook: “We have runners who have a lot of heart. A few are competing in either both cross country and football or cross country and soccer,” the coach said.

Notes: Juarez could be an impact maker, as he’s competed in national races ahead of the start of his prep career.

Girls

Last year: Fifth in region 2

Returning athletes: Ashley Hermosillo, Soph.; Dotty Mitchell, Jr.; Norma Morales, Jr.; Gabriela Munoz, Jr.; Jasmine Valle, Soph.

Outlook: “Our girls play multi sports and give it all they have when it’s time to compete. Looking forward to a great season and for our girls to be competitive,” Van Hoesen said.

Fountain Valley

Coach: Scott Lebo, 15th season

Girls

Last year: Sixth in region 2.

Returning athletes: Marlee Brooks, Sr.; Lisbet Jackson, Soph.; Kitty Zhang, Jr.

Other top athletes: Adeline Thames, Sr.

Outlook: “We are working to bring our number of runners back up and to continue to progress,” Lebo said.

Peyton

Coach: Anthony Martinez, second season

Boys

Last year: Seventh at state, region 2 champions

Returning athletes: Mason Howard, Jr.; Kelsey Montague, Jr.; Joel Schluessler, Soph.; Sammy Schuemann, Sr.; Braedon Whaley, Sr.

Outlook: “We return our entire state squad and have a chance to place very high at the state meet,” Martinez said. “With 18 boys on the team, we have the chance to have a lot of quality at the top with depth.”

Girls

Last year: Sixth at state, region 2 champions

Returning athletes: Jenny Dekker, Jr.; Natalie Hlatki, Soph.; Mikhala Lucky, Sr.; Kayleigh Mannering, Jr.

Outlook: We have a strong returning core that has a ton of upside,” Martinez said.

Tri-Peaks League

The Vanguard School

Coach: Leroy Neal, 36th year

Boys

Last year: 11th at state, third in region 2

Returning athletes: Kyle Schoonover, Soph.

Outlook: “We have some talented prospects but no proven front-runners and a very small team,” Neal said. “Entire season depends upon fast development of some very young athletes.”

Girls

Last year: Seventh at state, region 2 champions.

Returning athletes: Hanna Duez, Soph.; Isabell Grizales, Jr.; Madi Moes, Jr.; Morgan Wiklow, Jr.; Korey Winter, Jr.

Outlook: Neal said, “Our top runner graduated and we will be depending on several juniors to step up as well as a few very promising frosh and sophs.”

Schools not included did not report

Vinny Benedetto, The Gazette

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