1. Eastwood: The Troopers had a special year in 2017, capturing a bronze medal at the Class 6A UIL State Cross Country Championship. Gone are its top two runners Anthony Molina (NMSU) and Gabe Armijo (Houston) but in steps a new crop of runners gunning for a state title in a different classification. Because of a drop in enrollment, Eastwood is now in Class 5A. However, expectations remain the same as juniors Elias Perez and Juan Olmos take the leadership roles. Seniors Kayn Quinones and Eddie Gallegos will look to fill the spots vacated by Armijo and Molina.
2. Americas: With Eastwood moving to Class 5A, the District 1-6A race should come down to the Trailblazers and Coronado. The Americas boys are seeking its first district title since 2005. Americas returns four of its top five runners including junior Jacob Ye, senior Tyler Rodriguez, junior Hector Sanchez and senior Alek Duran. The Trailblazers placed 6that the Region 1-6A Meet.
3. Coronado: But don’t be surprised if the T-Birds win it. Coronado’s top three – senior Liam Walsh and juniors Nick Gonzalez and Alan Alba – return. Senior Nicolas Kraynick and junior Dominic Lara round out a solid top five which finished 11that the Region 1-6A Meet.
4. San Elizario: A fifth straight state championship. That’s what the Eagles are aiming for this season. And why not? With all but two runners back, “one for the thumb” is a realistic goal. Individual state and regional champion sophomore Edwin Gomez returns along with All State runner junior Rene Arambula (5that state), juniors Antonio Diaz, Martin Pargas and Seth Rodriguez.
5. Burges: The Mustangs have quietly built a solid cross country program and with four seniors and two underclassmen returning from a Region 1-5A bronze medal team that finished 14that the state meet, there is no reason why Burges cannot be better. Seniors Sam Zambrano, Luis Cuevas, Alvaro Barroeta and Angel Ortiz will lead the charge along with junior Noah Yeager who finished 25that state.
6. Franklin: The Cougars will contend for a top three District 1-6A finish and advancement to the regional meet if they stay healthy. Top returnees include seniors Jacobo Wedemeyer and Milo Alvarado, junior Daniel Kennedy and sophomore Albert Mendez.
7. Tornillo: The Coyotes earned their second consecutive silver medal at the Class 3A UIL State Meet last season and return five of those runners including seniors Eduardo Carrillo, Heriberto Amaya and Tommy Montelongo. Junior Ofir Ortega and sophomore Bryan Garcia are expected to add depth. The Coyotes have won four straight district and Region 1-3A championships.
8. Hanks: Junior Michael Abeyta is the most talented runner in El Paso. He finished second at the Region 1-5A and the Class 5A State Meet behind Aledo’s junior runner Graydon Morris. Abeyta has lifted the Knights to a District 2-5A runner-up spot last year and an 8thplace regional finish. Fellow classmates Roger Rivera and Omar Munoz will need some help if the Knights will be able to return to regionals.
9. Socorro: After a few down years, the Bulldogs hope to contend for a spot to the Region 1-6A Meet. The Bulldogs return its top five including seniors Sebastian Mendoza, Ivan Carrera and Isaias Hernandez, junior Christian Parra and sophomore Devin Cook.
10. El Paso: The Tigers are hungry and determined after just missing out on a trip to the Region 1-5A Championship. The young Tigers are a year more experienced and are eager to improve. Sophomore Josep Ferret and juniors Matthew Avila, Jacob Ontiveros and Benjamin Grajeda look to improve.
On the brink: Eastlake, Chapin.