Centennial, Palo Verde, Shadow Ridge and Arbor View are the favorites to grab the six available state berths at the Sunset Region meet Friday in Boulder City.
The Sunset boys race is at 9:45 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park. The Sunset girls race is scheduled for 11:15.
In the boys race, Centennial and Palo Verde are heavily favored to be among the three teams qualifying for state.
The teams are ranked 1-2 in the latest Southern Nevada Coaches Poll and finished 1-2 in the Northwest League championship race.
The third spot at state probably will go to Shadow Ridge, with Arbor View the dark horse.
Arbor View coach Kyle Hageness said his boys might be on the outside looking in, calling the race “crowded at the top, with Centennial, Palo Verde, and Shadow Ridge leading the way.”
Centennial is led by junior Nathan Williams and freshman Nick Hartle. Palo Verde has three front-runners: seniors Daniel Wicks and Zack Smith, and junior Sebastian Karbowniczek.
Shadow Ridge leads off with junior Sam Mahar.
The top five individuals on teams not qualifying for state also earn a spot at state.
Spring Valley’s Ricky Barcenas, Jacob Naylor of Clark, Matt Shelton of Durango, Mitchell Paul of Sierra Vista, Zack Ipson of Legacy and Arbor View’s Kyle Wilson are expected to be among the individuals battling for a berth at state.
The battle for supremacy among the Sunset girls features Centennial and Shadow Ridge.
Centennial’s girls are led by sophomore Brittany Williams, second at the Northwest Division race, and close behind her is a solid supporting cast. The Bulldogs placed all seven runners in the top 15 in the Northwest race.
Shadow Ridge also placed its five scoring runners in the top 15, despite sitting out No. 1 runner Michelle Schenck, who was nursing a sore knee.
Schenck should be healthy enough to run Friday, according to Shadow Ridge coach Pat Fitzgerald, who said Michelle “was feeling good and wanted to race last Saturday, but I kept her out, as we had not tested her knee with any intensity. So, Michelle is ready to go and wants a big piece of this championship. ”
Arbor View looks like a good bet to take the third state berth, led by Katie Carrell and Taylor Ingram. Carrell won the Northwest League race, and Ingram placed 12th.
But Palo Verde hopes to pull an upset.
“An interesting mix of youth and experience could be the perfect formula for the Panthers to sneak into the Sunset’s top three,” Palo Verde coach Robert Davis said.
Sophomore Kelsi Koch of Palo Verde was third in the Northwest League race.
Other runners with a good shot to qualify from the Sunset as individuals include McKenzie Dean from Pahrump Valley, Clark’s Elisa Vazquez, Lizenda Licea-Diaz from Desert Oasis, and Bishop Gorman’s Maddie Levine, Brielle Crovetti and Taylor Stueve.