1. Catholic High - Under the guidance of coaching great Pete Boudreaux, and led by one of the state’s front runners in Joseph St. Cyr, not much is known about the returnees. Based off of historical big meet placing, it is hard not to rank the CHS Bears #1 off of sheer principal.
2. Jesuit - On paper, they would seem to be #1 team returning their entire squad including Neal Fitzpatrick (the top contender for the title with his 9:22 two mile). However, with a few key injuries coming off a summer base, we drop them to #2.
3. St. Paul’s - Ranking 3rd, the Wolves bring back a young crew and could easily move up to the top based off of what the 4 and 5 runners do to supplement the powerful 1-2-3 punch of Albright (4:19 1600), Kramer Jackson (9:47 3200), and Don Lipani (9:59 3200).
4. West Monroe - The 4th place finishers from 5A XC a year ago return their entire crew. Their top 4 are as good as anyone else, but will their 5th man be their achilles heel?
5. Episcopal - This could be one of Episcopal’s top teams since the 2001 days of trio Smith, Fell, and “Wolfman” Huston... The 2012 squad returns 5 of their top 8 from 2011... including one of the state’s top contenders in Christian Johnson (4:22/9:41). Look for small class EHS Knights to mix it up with the “big boys”.
6. Brother Martin - The Crusaders return 4 of their top 8 from last year’s state meet. Although they lost their top 3 runners from last year, a solid summer of training has unveiled some newcomers who have stepped it up. With plenty of depth, look for this traditional powerhouse to make things competitive in the hunt for the title.
7. Walker - Leading the charge will be senior Brady Warren who is coming off a healthy summer of training. The low 15’s could be in his bag while he will be backed by Hazel (SR) and Holland (SR) who are also in the hunt for sub 16. A few key injuries and the need for some of the younger guys to step it up will determine Walker’s chances of moving up on the list.
8. St. Thomas Aquinas - Brocato leads the charge and will have three teammates that will run in the 16’s. But how far they go will be determined by their 5th man stepping it up.
9. St. Thomas More - STM has 5 of the top 8 returners in 4A and should be able to pull out the victory in the fall. They also have decent depth to back themselves up being led by Ryan O'Banion.
10. Parkway - Wildcards from the North with a top 10 finish from last year’s state meet.
1. Dominican -
They are the heavy favorites going into the season. Dominican returns a powerful top three in Barkmeyer, Meydrich, and Sakamoto who could all push for top 8 placings at the state meet. They are also backed by sub 20 runners in Williams and Lindstrom.
2. St. Joseph - This is the classic pack running team. Although they don’t have any standout front runners, SJA looks to put their top 5 within a minute of each other between 19 and 20 flat. This leaves no room for faltering from our preseason #1‘s above.
3. Mt. Carmel - This traditional powerhouse returns a young crew of runners. Competition internally looks to fare well for them come November. Look out for newcomer Kristen Delaune, who is rumored to have been leading most of the workouts this summer despite being her first year - foregoing soccer for XC. She is also rumored to be a distant cousin to running great Jimmy Wiggins.
4. Fontainebleau -
They were last year’s runner up in 5A. They look to make the race more entertaining this year by keeping a strong presence up front, but could potentially lack the depth that they need to overcome their foes from across the lake. They are led by the preseason number 3 individual, Nicole Durham, who is yet to crack 18 minutes but is knocking on the door with her 18:09 at district. Three other girls off this squad have PR's under 19:45, but the fifth returner is far back in the low 21s. Can Fontainebleu find a fifth runner who can push for a sub 20? If so, the race will certainly be a lot closer than last year.
5. Mandeville - Last year’s number 3 team in 5A takes a step back with the graduation of some top runners, but still maintains enough solid girls to hold down the sixth place ranking. Kylie Touchard and Caroline Limbaugh lead this years team with marks of under 20 minutes from last year, but the spread is wide open with the fifth returner all the way back in the mid 21s.
6. Sacred Heart - Last year’s 2A runner up team returns all of their top 7 runners. This team packs a good 1-2 punch with Bloemer and Eagan up front. These two girls boast sub 19 personal bests.
7. Ruston -
The upper classmen are determined to get back to the top. With three girls who should run sub-20min for 3 miles (Anna Hall, Adaiza Austin, Taryn Stark) and several others in the 20min range to back them: (Morgan Winstead, Ebenae Eddy, Sarah Hall). Look for the Bearcats to contend for a trophy in Nachitoches.
8. Parkway - This might just be the coming out party for this team. Leading the charge will be Alison Ringle(JR) who finished 2nd in the 4A XC Championships last year with PR’s of 18:36/11:29/5:18. She will be joined by Alayna Nevins, the 3rd place 4A State XC finisher in 2010.
9. Menard - Mallory is rumored to have had a great summer of training and looks to pack a powerful sting up front, while summer miles for a few others may cause them to drop initially in the rankings come the weekend, but we fully expect them to be mixing it up in the composite rankings later in the year.
10. Episcopal - It’s hard to leave EHS off the rankings. A record number of 51 girls came out for their team this year. They will be lead by Katie Keller(SR), who finished 3rd at last year’s state meet, but some of the younger ones are going to have to grow up quickly if they are going to challenge at the State Level.
Top 5 Power Individuals to look out for in the 2012 XC season (no particular order):
Neal Fitzpatrick (Jesuit)
Zach Albright (St. Paul’s)
Christian Johnson (Episcopal)
Joseph St. Cyr (Catholic High BR)
Enrique Soto (Lakeside)
Gabrielle Jennings (First Baptist)
Haley Hesterman (Calvary Baptist)
Nicole Durham (Fontainebleau)
Allison Ringle (Parkway)
Mallory Robichaux (Menard)<p> </p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; font: normal normal normal 12px/normal Helvetica; "> <span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><span style="letter-spacing: 0px; ">To help us ensure the most informitive polls please try to get your results in over the weekend to firstname.lastname@example.org.</span></strong></span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; font: normal normal normal 12px/normal Helvetica; min-height: 14px; "> </p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; font: normal normal normal 12px/normal Helvetica; "> <span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><span style="letter-spacing: 0px; ">Thanks!</span></strong></span></p>