DELTA - The teams are in Delta. They've had a light workout Tuesday. Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley cross country are ready to go at today's regional meet.
The gents race at 3:30 p.m. The ladies follow at 4 p.m. Here's what to watch for:
The top-five runners score with the place in which they finish. For example, the Battle Mountain boys finished 1-2-3-4-6 in the 2007 regional meet for a ridiculously-low score of 16. (Lower is better.)
While five runners score, each team has nine runners at the meet - up from seven in previous years. The four who won't score play a huge role, however. A team's sixth/seventh, etc., runner, can push back another team's top-five runner making the later's score for his or her team higher.
The top-five teams in each race advance to state in Colorado Springs on Oct. 20.
Good question. Huskies coach Rob Parish was talking up Durango and Summit County on the girls' side. A look at co.milesplit.com indicates otherwise. The Huskies are the defending regional meet champions. They are ranked third in the state, behind only The Classical Academy and Thompson Valley.
Run the simulator on milesplit.com - not that everyone involved hasn't already - and the Battle Mountain ladies are the favorites followed by Durango, Summit and some combination of Delta and Eagle Valley.
On the boys' side, Durango is the favorite and the battle for second place is likely a local one with the Devils having the edge over the Huskies.
Please note, individuals and teams often use this simulator as motivation.
With the Internet out of the way, the Huskies girls will be running with a target on their back.
"Every season has its challenges," Parish said. "We've come back and we are defending and that involves pressure. We're healthy and ready to rip. This group is made of runners. In lots of years, we've had athletes from all sorts of sports. It's different this year."
Meanwhile, Eagle Valley's boys have consistently been at the top of the standings in meets all regular season. What was once a young team is full of seasoned runners.
"We're looking to have a good, solid competitive race," Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. "We're working on all competitive aspects of the race. The guys are fired up for state."
Perhaps the bigger drama is with the Battle Mountain boys and Eagle Valley girls teams. The Huskies boys failed to make state last year for the first time since 2003. Parish really likes the feel of his squad.
"Nothing would surprise me as far as pecking order," Parish said referring to what order his runners would finish.
Meanwhile, the Devils ladies have a great top three in Gabriella Avila, Chantal Willoughby and Nikki Cunning, but, as noted, it takes five to score.
"We want to be in the top four," Brandt said.