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2013 cross country previews

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CHATFIELD CHARGERS
Head coaches: Don Daniels, Jeff Mages
Assistant coach: Angie Erb
Classification: 5A Jeffco
2012 recap: The Chatfield boys finished sixth and the girls eighth at regionals, with senior Kelsi Lawrence the lone qualifier for state. Lawrence was 12th in the regional and 99th at state.
Runners to watch: Tyler Hale, Sr.; Nate Oglesby, Sr.; Dylan Thompson, Jr.; Laura Miller, Sr.; Emily Pung, Soph.
Season opener: Aug. 30, at Arapahoe Invitational, 4 p.m.
State finals: Oct. 26, Norris Penrose Center, Colorado Springs
Outlook: Mages believes the Chargers’ top three boys of Hale, Oglesby and Thompson are solid, experienced runners who can fill the shoes of the two graduated seniors Nathan Moore and Panos Smyrnios at the top. He sees Dakota Ridge and Pomona as the teams to beat in the Jeffco. The girls suffered a blow with the offseason transfer of Michaela Hakamaa, last year’s No. 2 runner. Miller and Pung should fill the top two spots. Mages said Dakota Ridge and Pomona should lead the way on the girls’ side.
— Craig Harper

COLUMBINE REBELS
Head coaches: Dirk Visser (boys), Natalie Reyes (girls)
Assistant coaches: Emily Krause Chelsey Miller
Classification: 5A Jeffco
2012 recap: The Rebel boys finished seventh at regionals with no state qualifiers, while the girls placed sixth at regionals.
Runners to watch: Dylan Hinckley, Sr.; Logan Williams, Sr.; David Blair, Fr.; Danielle Cobb, Sr.; Maddy Smith, Sr.; Shoshana Brown, Sr.
Season opener: Aug. 30, at Arapahoe Invitational, 4 p.m.
State finals: Oct. 26, Norris Penrose Center, Colorado Springs
Outlook: The Rebel boys have not had a state qualifer since William Kincaid won the 5A title in 2010 and must replace their top runner from 2012 and another who chose not to return. Hinckley and Williams are the top two returning varsity runners, placing 60th and 70th at regional. Brown (33rd at regional) is the top female returnee. Smith returns after missing the 2012 season with an injury, and Cobb is a transfer from Mississippi.
— Craig Harper

DAKOTA RIDGE EAGLES
Head coach: Mark Stenbeck
Assistant coaches: Paige Schmidt, Chelsea Hitzges
Classification: 5A Jeffco
2012 recap: The Eagle boys took fourth at regional and eighth at state, led by junior Carson Hume, who was 14th. Three of the top five runners at state were seniors, including Ryan Cutter. The girls finished second at regional and 20th at state, led by their lone senior, McKenna Spillar, who was seventh.
Runners to watch: Carson Hume, Sr.; Bradley Carney, Sr.; Cameron  Mattson, Sr.; Carlie Hume, So.; Vanessa Gonzalez, Sr.; Erin Renner, Sr.
Season opener: Aug. 30, at Arapahoe Invitational, 4 p.m.
State finals: Oct. 26, Norris Penrose Center, Colorado Springs.
Outlook: The Eagle boys lost three seniors, but Stenbeck said the team is “crazy deep.’’ Hume was 14th and Carney 63rd in last year’s state meet. Mattson will be pushed by juniors Ben Rowland and Chris King for the No. 3 spot. The girls return every runner except Spillar and should improve on their 2012 finishes. Hume (fifth regional, 90th state) figures to make giant strides this year. The Eagles are experienced, “but we’re arguably a younger team, so it’s going to take some time,’’  Stenbeck said.
— Craig Harper

LITTLETON LIONS
Head coach: Art Vigil.
Assistant coaches: Bill Stahl, Bill Knitmeyer, Annie Holden
Classification: 5A Continental
2012 recap: The Lion girls, with no seniors, finished third in the regional and 21st at state, led by freshman Magda van Leeuwen, who was 11th in the regional and 101st at state. Kelly Dinneen and Rosa Hardarson placed in the top 15 at regionals. The boys had no state qualifiers and placed ninth in the regionals.
Runners to watch: Magda van Leeuwen, Soph.; Elizabeth Bollendonk, Sr.; Elizabeth Rothrock, Jr.; Jack Robb, Sr.; Ian Cox, Sr.; Morgan Fuiks, Soph.
Season opener: Aug. 30, at Arapahoe Invitational, 4 p.m.
State finals: Oct. 26, Norris Penrose Center, Colorado Springs.
Outlook: Van Leeuwen is the clearcut No. 1 runner, but the rest of the spots could be up for grabs on a deep roster. Rothrock, who wasn’t among the top seven runners but finished 55th in the regionals, could be a big surprise. The Lion boys return two of their top runners, Robb and Cox, and Vigil is expecting good things from Fuiks, who did not run cross country as a freshman.
— Craig Harper

FRONT RANGE CHRISTIAN FALCONS
Head coach: Jeff Harrington
Assistant coach: Lisa Grossbach
Classification: 2A Metro League
2012 recap: The Falcon boys finished 10th at regional and did not qualify anyone for state. The girls had just two runners for the regional, neither of whom made it to state.
Runners to watch: Calvin Harrington, Soph.; Chase Morris, Soph.; Nathan Paladino, Soph.; Reiley Norton, Soph.; Grace Herring, Fr.; Madeline Schaller, Soph.
Season opener: Sept. 5, at St. Mary’s Academy Wildcat Invitational, 4:45 p.m.
State finals: Oct. 26, Norris Penrose Center, Colorado Springs.
Outlook: Both programs are in their third year and are building with mostly sophomores and freshmen. Morris was the highest finisher in the regional at 45th, but Jeff Harrington said his son Calvin probably will be the No. 1 runner though he’s been injury-prone. Paladino will miss the first half due to academic issues. The Falcon girls had just three runners for most of 2012 and two — Schaller and Dressen — healthy for the regional. But they begin 2013 with seven. Harrington said Norton would have been the No. 1 runner in 2012 if not for injuries, and it’s questionable if she can compete for the entire 2013 season.
— Craig Harper