Last season marked the novel introduction of the division system, creating an even more competitive field for cross country. The 2022 season was chock-full of impressive marks both by teams and individuals which just begs the question, "What will we see this upcoming fall?". Listed below are MileSplit LA's Top 25 picks for the returning cross-country programs, based solely on our knowledge of returning runners.
|Rank||Team||Losing||2022 State Finish||Notes|
St. Joseph's is a returning powerhouse that will most likely end the year on top, yet again. This program has been dominating the sport in the past decade and doesn't have any sign of letting up. This year's program is a group of dominating seniors full of experience and results to back them up. It's hard to find a team that is in as good of shape as this one.
The Knights are a team that is defined by youth. What is bringing this team to the forefront is the fact that they lose virtually nothing and still hold on to the powerful low sticks that they had from last year. It's always impressive to see a small school such as Episcopal be able to string together a team like this, and it will definitely continue to be a team to watch in the coming years.
Highly similar to Episcopal, Mt. Carmel has several young girls that bring strength to this team. The only downside is that this team is losing half of their top seven runners. Even so, they still remain as one of the best programs in the state.The question remains if this team has what it takes to challenge the #2 sport in Division I.
The Bearcats lose a little momentum with the loss of their low stick, but still hold on to a solid team. The remainder of this squad is still incredibly young so there is a lot that is not known about them. Surely experience will serve them well during this upcoming season.
What a young team this is! The Cardinals return every single one of its runners and look to be one of the best prospects for the upcoming season. This team may just give the Episcopal Knights a run for their money during the Division III state meet this year.
Roma McAlear (7)
Dominican does not seem to lose much other than some depth in its program. This squad is filled with upperclassmen and will surely bring their best asset to the table, being their well-acclaimed experience. This is not a new team to be mentioned near the top of this list. This is a team that has gotten the job done year after year and may benefit even more from the years of experience under their belt.
After a tie-breaker during the 2022 Division II state meet, Sacred Heart took home second-place. There is absolutely no question that this is the best returning team to challenge the title. After losing none of their runners and having what some could call a "ridiculously" young team, the potential for this team is truly untold.
The Yellow Jackets have strong potential this year. The lose only one runner from their top seven and are looking to improve upong their fourth place finish from last year at the Division I state meet. With a reliable low stick and incoming upperclassmen, this team looks to be capitalizing on both talent and experience.
The Falcons are in strong form as the defending champions of the Division IV title. They lose only two of the top seven and are primarily made up of extremely young runners that have potential to grow and utilize their gained experience.
Vandebilt Catholic is hurting afrer returning without their two best runners. Nonetheless, this team still has the potential to be one of the largest contenders in the state.
ARCA enters the year with a tight contention for the Division IV state title. This team loses no runners and has more potential loaded in the chamber. This team is mostly comprised of young runners and have a great potential to improve during this upcoming season. Needless to say, it will be a tight race between, STA, Metairie Park, and them.
The aforementioned Metaire Park Country Day is indeed a contender for the Divsion IV title, even so after losing two of their top seven. The team took second place last year and is surely vying for the coveted state champion title.
St. Martin's loses some, but not much scoring power. However, the loss of their fifth runner is going to hurt this team deeply. Although this is a hard loss for the team, they still retain strong potential, as this team is still mostly young.
Newman is hurting with the loss of almost half of their top seven. However, they still have runners in reserve to hold this team together. Newman has been strong in the past, so there is no doubt that younger and younger runners will step up to take their place
Lafayette High is loaded with opportunity as they return all of their top seven, most of which are or were underclassmen. This team finished 11th last year, but with this advantage, the question is not of making it into the top ten at the Division I state meet, but rather how high this team may place.
University Lab is in an odd position where they lose three of their fastest runners, yet may not be hurt as bad since only one of those runners that they are losing scored at the Division III state meet. This coupled with the fact that this team is mostly maturing into upperclassmen, they may give other Division III teams a run for their money.
St. Michael virtually loses no scoring power but do have to dig into the reserves to fill out that top seven. The additional promise of this team makes for an interesting development among the top Division III teams, as this makes the fifth D3 school within the top 17.
Baton Rougue High clings to the top 25 list mostly thanks to a strong low stick, however, the outloofk of this team is promising. Laden with young runners, this team has great potential to improve. The fact that this will happen during this season is yet to be seen however.
Cammi Colarelli (5)
Teulings Catholic loses one of its top runners but loses none of its runners that competed at the Division II state meet. This is a great feat for the team, however, the odds of them sliding into the runner-up or champion position is questionable. Nonetheless, this is still a formidable team.
Hathaway finished sxith at the 2022 Division IV state meet, however, they return all of their runners. In addition to this, the majority of them are underclassmen, which leaves plenty to question about the future of this team. Naturally, you would expect this amount of freshmen on this team to make a considerable transition into this year.
Within the same division and arguably the same scenario as Hathaway, Louise S. McGehee returns all of their runs and has an even younger squad at their disposal. These are two teams that are conveniently similar in their potential for this upcoming season. In the past, this team has not been much to think about, however, this could be changing as this team matures.
The Parkway Panthers return all seven of their top runners and will mostly likely look to improve upon their 10th-place finish from last year. The fact that this team has run the way that they have and not lost anyone leaves the question of what is possible for them this season. This team consists of mostly upperclassmen with plenty of race experience to go around, something that some of the other competitors lack.
Chloe Schouest (5)
Ascension Episcopal may be the most underrated team on this list, as they are still quite young and have plenty of room to improve. Not to mention that they finished 5th at the Division IV state meet last year. On top of that, they lose no scoring power from the runners who competed at the 2022 state meet. This is more of the dark horse among these teams.
Abigail Landry (4)
Though they lose a member of their top five, St. Thomas More still finds themselves on this list and can still be competitive among other Division II teams. This is the season that they unleash the upperclassmen, as all of these girls have been in the game long enough to have some understanding of what needs to be accomplished during competition. Though they are somewhat out of reach of the top three positions in Division II, it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off.
Phoebe Endriss (2)
Like most female teams, this squad consists of some young athletes, but perhaps the biggest draw for this team is that they lose no scoring power from the runners that competed at the state meet. In theory, this team can only go up. Of course, there is plenty of variables that go into a cross-country season, so this is yet to be seen.