When the Class 4A Sunset and Sunrise Region cross country races take to the 3.1-mile course at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City on Friday, there aren’t likely to be too many surprises.
But there is one race where there is no clear consensus on a winner.
The Sunrise Region girls race is wide open, comparatively, with three teams in the hunt for the title.
Green Valley was thought to have the edge over Coronado and Foothill until the recent Southern League Championships, where Coronado upset Green Valley, 32-40. Foothill finished third in that race with 59 points.
Now the three Henderson rivals meet again for the Sunrise Championship. All three are clear favorites to finish 1-2-3 and qualify for state, so the battle is for little more than bragging rights.
Who wins both the individual and team titles may come down to the matchup between Green Valley’s Alyssa Rapovy and Coronado’s Erin Smith, the top two runners in the Sunrise Region.
Rapovy and Smith have run head-to-head three times this year, with the Gator senior winning twice, including at the recent Southeast League meet, where they finished 20 seconds apart.
“Alyssa Rapovy’s season has gone the way she runs: better and better, with the best at the end,” Green Valley coach Blaine Thompson said. “She has improved steadily throughout the season and it should be a classic matchup both individually (with Smith) and team-wise (with Coronado).”
The Sunrise boys race appears to be a little more predictable.
Del Sol’s Colin Smith is the individual favorite while Foothill is the odds-on choice to win the boys team championship.
In the Sunset Region, Centennial’s Nick Hartle and Palo Verde’s Katie Gorczyca are heavy favorites to win individual titles.
Shadow Ridge and Arbor View boys’ teams are expected to qualify for state, along with the heavily favored Bulldogs. Palo Verde and Arbor View are co-favorites in the Sunset girls race.
The Sunrise boys race is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with the Sunset boys to follow at 9:45, the Sunrise girls at 10:30 and the Sunset girls at 11:15.
The top three teams in each race, along with the top five individuals from outside the team qualifiers, advance to the state meet on Nov. 6 at Veterans Memorial Park.