Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Top meets on Tap in the Northwest: Oct. 8

Weekend schedule - what meets this weekend have which ranked teams/individuals?

This week, there are five major meets:

The most intriguing race this weekend, in my opinion, is going to be at Bob Conley ID. This is a meet that features very strong teams up front on both sides, including the only match-up of multiple Top-4 teams: Jackson Hole WY squares off against Mountain View ID in quality girls field. The boys race is also promising, with the top two teams in Idaho squaring off with two more ranked teams in the mix as well. It is also the strongest individual field on the girls side, with 10 girls ranked in the NW top 50 ratings over the last couple of week. Even more impressive is when you consider that the girls field will match up the two top rated runners in the region, and a total of six of the Northwest's top 11! The boys side is no joke either, with seven Top-50 athletes in the field.

The main highlight at the Hole in the Wall WA meet is the girls race, where NW#1 Jesuit will run against four Washington teams ranked between #15 and #20, as well as an Edmonds-Woodway squad which should be Top 10 if they are at full strength. The girls individual battle will also be strong, tying Bob Conley for the most Top-50 runners with 10 runners rated at 121+ and also nearly matches up on the guys side with 6. This meet has almost all of the top girls programs on the west side of Washington. The boys side is also of interest, with two Top-22 teams facing a strong out of state team in Poway CA.

Richland WA features the deepest boys field with 8 ranked boys teams, along with 2 ranked teams in the girls race. #1 North Central will square off with #5 Bellarmine Prep is the highlight. Of the NW top 50 individuals I've rated over the last coupe weeks (which was ratings of 179+ and 121+), there are 12 boys (and 2 girls) set to toe the line. That is a very strong boys field, along with what should be a close girls team race between Mead and Lewis & Clark.

Over in Montana, the Helena 7-on-7 MT meet as always features the top teams and individuals from around the state. It is a meet which breaks runners up into different flights, just like Sunfair. Glacier's Annie Hill and Billings Senior's Tiahna Vladic are two of the best runners in the Northwest, and probably among the top 25 in the nation, which have traded wins over the last two weeks. One of them will most likely win once again, although there is still one lingering question with regards to the Montana girls cross country scene: is this going to be the week that Bryn Morley returns to the course? Bryn Morley, for those that might have somehow forgotten, is a fantastic runner who qualified for Footlocker two years ago as a freshman, and is the defending Montana B State Champion that was injured this spring and has been recovering ever since. I saw an article a couple of weeks ago (a preview of the Mountain West meet) that mentioned that Morley's coach thought she was "about a week from recovering (from her injury)." Although I wouldn't expect her to be near 100% in her first race back (if that is even to happen this week), it will be interesting to see how such a dynamic talent can influence the race and the Northwest XC scene in general.

The fifth major meet is one without many regionally ranked teams, but a very solid group of individuals: The Flat and Fast Invitational in Oregon. Sunset OR is the top ranked team on both sides, and their runners will be challenged by runners from a variety of different schools on both sides. There are four Top-50 boys and six Top-50 girls in the field, including a pair of Top-10 girls (Ember Stratton of Sunset and Ginger Murnieks of Sprague) and a Top-10 boy (Zane Fodge of McMinnville).

Meets with multiple NW ranked teams:

Richland WA (Oct. 8) - 8 ranked boys teams, 2 ranked girls teams

Boys field: #1 North Central WA, #5 Bellarmine Prep WA, #10 Eisenhower WA, #12 Lewis & Clark WA, #17 Henry Jackson WA, #20 Kamiakin WA, #22 Central Valley WA, #26 Joel Ferris WA

Girls field: #14 Lewis & Clark WA, #17 Mead WA

Bob Conley ID (Oct. 6) - 4 ranked boys teams, 5 ranked girls teams

Boys field: #4 Skyline ID, #7 Borah ID, #18 Sugar-Salem ID, #23 Jackson Hole WY

Girls field: #3 Jackson Hole WY, #4 Mountain View ID, #9 Boise ID, #12 Madison ID, #25 Twin Falls ID

Hole in the Wall WA (Oct. 8) - 2 ranked boys teams (plus a solid CA team), 5 ranked girls teams

Boys field: Poway CA, #21 Camas WA, #25 Glacier Peak WA

Girls field: #1 Jesuit OR, #15 Glacier Peak WA, #16 Camas WA, #18 Northwest WA, #20 Issaquah WA

Gib Floyd ID (Oct. 8) - 1 ranked boys team, 2 ranked girls teams

Boys field: #19 Rocky Mountain ID

Girls field: #6 Eagle ID, #24 Rocky Mountain ID

Ash Creek II OR (Oct. 8) - 2 ranked boys teams

Boys field: #8 West Anchorage AK, #16 South Eugene OR

Girls field: (no ranked teams)

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