Idaho State XC Preview: 3A/4A/5A

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

It's state championship week in Idaho. Teams from across the state will meet in Pocatello at the Portneuf Wellness Complex for the right to be named individual and team cross country champions on Friday and Saturday October 30 and 31.

For those that cannot attend due to COVID-19 restrictions, here is a look at what to watch for in the 3A, 4A, and 5A races on Friday.

Borah's Nathan Green, Pocatello's Shane Gard, CDA Charter's Logan Davis, Nampa's Cassandra Vasquez, Eagle's Lizzie Dildine, McCall-Donnelly's Sophie McManus.

5A Boys

Race Time: 2:45 p.m. (MST)

Individuals To Watch For: Nathan Green (Borah), Will Dixon (Madison), Mitchell Athay (Idaho Falls), Spencer Ord (Mountain View), Seth Bingham (Thunder Ridge)

Teams To Watch For: Eagle, Idaho Falls, Madison, Rocky Mountain

Here's The Run Down:

- After dominating the 4A division the last three seasons, Idaho Falls will look to chase for their fourth consecutive state team title in the gauntlet that is the 5A division. The No. 1 ranked team in Idaho has been upfront all season long led by Mitchell and Luke Athay, and the 2019 4A individual champion Zac Bright is finally coming around for the Tigers. But it won't be an easy task winning this year's title when facing a predominant team this past decade in Rocky Mountain, who has won the last three 5A team titles the previous four seasons. This will also be the very first match-up of the season between these two schools.

From an individual perspective, it's all about Borah's Nathan Green and what he can do in his final cross country race in a Borah uniform. The UW commit holds the Portneuf course state 5k record, which he set last season at 15:14 and he has already run 14:54 this season. However, the race for second will be a good one. Madison's Will Dixon is having the best season of his cross country career running a PR of 15:37 and Idaho Falls' Mitchell Athay is not too far behind running 15:40. Between those two, Dixon has the best shot to compete with Green for the first half of the race.

The Runner WA's Individual Pick: Nathan Green

- Green is just too far ahead of everyone at this point in the season. There is a good reason why he is No. 1 recruit in the nation.

The Runner WA's Team Pick: Rocky Mountain

- Rocky Mountain comes out on top because of their experience competing in the 5A division led by two-time state champion participant, Marcus Heemeyer. Idaho Falls is a great team, but I feel like the Grizzlies are just slightly ahead.

5A Girls

Race Time: 2:00 p.m. (MST)

Individuals To Watch For: Lizzie Dildine (Eagle), Samantha Wood (Post Falls), Allie Bruce (Boise), Rosina Machu (Boise), Rilyn Stevens (Mountain View)

Teams To Watch For: Boise, Eagle, Mountain View, Post Falls

Here's The Run Down:

- The headline coming into this meet is whether or not Eagle's Lizzie Dildine can repeat as an individual champion, but from my perspective, we need to look at the underclassmen talent in this field. Boise's Allie Bruce is having an incredible freshman season running the third-fastest 5k time in the state at 17:43 and has been one of the key reasons to the Braves' success as the nations top team. Another freshman from Boise in Samantha Smith, who has the second-best best time in the state at 17:35, didn't race at the District meet so it's questionable if she is a go for Friday. Post Falls' Samantha Wood is making her mark too with an undefeated racing record and a 5k personal best time of 17:49.1. Between Dildine, Wood, and Bruce, this will be the race of the day to watch.

Boise is about as good as a team as you can have. With all seven runners ranked in the 5A division's top 15, this is the most dominant team in all of Idaho, and perhaps the whole country. Rosina Machu has the chance to end her career as a part of three state championship teams, while also placing high on the podium. As for the other top tier teams, just like the 5A boy's individual race, the battle for second place is going to be close. Mountain View, Eagle, and Post Falls all have solid five scorers and any of them could beat each other on any given day. But it might come down to the sixth runner for these three schools to dictate placing, which in this case is in favor of Mountain View.

The Runner WA's Individual Pick: Lizzie Dildine