5A | Region 5
Coach: Robert Duensing (seventh season)
Key players: Kayli Tabares, jr.; Shelbi Weisburg, sr.
What to know: Only Tabares represented the Spartans at the 5A state meet in 2015, and Duensing is looking for her and Weisburg to lead a strong class of freshmen and sophomores and do big things this season.
Coach: Rob Gilliam (fifth season)
Key players: Maddie McIntyre, sr.; Allison Horwitch, sr.; Isabel Ward-Chambers, sr.; Brook Groninger, so.; Maya Gilliam, sr.
What to know: A senior-led group returns as the Terrors have their sights on becoming more competitive.
Coach: Doug Hugill (18th season)
Key players: Madeline Morland, so.; Chloe Cassens, jr.; Faith Roth, so.; Taylor Dutton, jr.; Hannah Besse, jr.; Layla Roebke, so.
What to know: The Cougars, with no upperclassmen, finished fifth in the 5A state meet, the best area finish in the largest classification. All five scoring runners finished just 47 seconds apart. Morland led the squad with a 24th-place effort.
Coach: Gary Weston (30th season)
Key players: Allison Mann, sr.; Camryn Slade, sr.; Anna Stohner, sr.; Jennifer Van Bueren, jr.
What to know: Mann had a fantastic season last year and placed third in the 3,200 meters at the state track meet. Slade, Stohner and Van Bueren are expected to help lead the team, along with Mann. Newcomer Anastasia Wilkinson is expected to contribute, too.
Also: Fountain-Fort Carson, Rampart
4A | Region 2
Coach: Chuck Schwartz (first season)
Key players: Paige Embaugh, so.; Maria Mettler, sr.; Mackenzie Moss, so.; Lilliana Hamilton, jr.; Jessica Leudke, so.; Tatum Miller, fr.; Sophia Braza, fr.
What to know: Schwartz, just the third cross country coach in the program's history that dates back to 1966, certainly inherits a team with all the pieces to defend its first state championship. Embaugh placed sixth at state last year, and Mettler and Moss also recorded top-20 finishes.
Coach: Mike Diamond (first season)
Key players: Brooke Taylor, sr.; Lindsey Purdham, jr.; Elizabeth Beagle, jr.; Rilee Britton, jr.
What to know: The Rangers bring back four letter-winners from 2015 as Diamond takes over as head coach. Lewis-Palmer did not have a state qualifier last season.
Coach: Larry Rudnicki (first season)
Key players: Erin Tirpak, sr.; Madeleine Bonneau, jr.; Aubrey Wood, jr.; Emily Gentry, so.; Caitlin O'Grady, jr.; Rachel Cunneff, jr.
What to know: After five years as an assistant, Rudnicki enters his first season as the program's head coach. The Bears finished fourth in the team standings but lost four varsity runners due to graduation.
Coach: Max Oliver (16th season)
Key players: Devon Kroeker, sr.; Athena Kuehne, sr.; Layla Almasri, sr.; Klara Aspelin, jr.; Sarah Basset, jr.; Hannah Burkett, jr.
What to know: An experienced team returns from the 2015 season, one that finished 12th in the 5A team standings and led by Kroeker, who placed 10th overall. Now competing in 4A, look for this group of Eagles to use that experience to make big strides in the upcoming season.
Coach: Marcy Epperson (13th season)
Key players: Ellie Enderle, sr.; Katie Till, sr.; Taylor Lee, so.; Ellie Till, so.
What to know: Enderle, the reigning regional champion, leads a talented and deep group of returning letter-winners for the Tigers. Katie Till and Lee also ran at the state meet representing Canon City, which finished 16th in the final team standings in 2015.
Coach: Stan Lambros (21st season)
Key players: Anna Warmack, so.; Brooke Kincaid, sr.
What to know: The Indians lost three of their varsity runners to graduation, and Lambros hopes to "improve daily" during the upcoming season. Warmack placed 67th at the 2015 state meet.
Coach: Nathan Borchers (second season)
Key players: Kaitlin Malone, sr.; Abigail Burg, sr.; Maggie Malone, so.
What to know: The Falcons had no qualifiers for last year's 4A state meet, but Borchers thinks that could change with the emergence of Maggie Malone. "She could have a breakout season," Borchers said.
Coach: Carl Burgess (11th season)
Key players: Marlissa Etsitty, sr.; Sarah Kay, jr.; Trinity Lafromboise, so.
What to know: Burgess has a largely inexperienced team, but one that has doubled in size from last season, which is an encouraging start.
Coach: Erik Nelson (13th season)
Key players: Caitlin Anderson, so.; Tabi Frandsen, jr.; Maddy Rodrigues, fr.; Julia Esch, sr.; Amber Taylor, jr.; Selina Krieg, sr.
What to know: Anderson was the sole representative for the Gladiators last year at state, and she'll be expected to lead a young team searching for depth and consistency.
Also: Discovery Canyon, Harrison, Mitchell, Sand Creek, Sierra, Vista Ridge
3A | Region 2
The Classical Academy
Coach: Alan Versaw (17th season)
Key players: Chantae Steele, so.; Carly Nicholson, so.; Katie Flaherty, so.; Kenzie Elliott, jr.; Hannah Gaona, sr.
What to know: The Titans make their return to 3A, where they won nine straight crowns at that class from 2003-11. They weren't too shabby in four seasons in 4A either. Steele placed fifth overall in the 4A race last season and leads a team blessed with depth.
Coach: Kurt Skinner (second season)
Key players: Grace Skinner, sr.; Tristina Altman, sr.; Rachel DeLollis, sr.; Hope Bedford, jr.; Grace DeLollis, so.; Rachel Ingram, so.
What to know: Skinner hopes to build experience in his Lions squad, one with many first- or second-year runners.
Coach: Deb Hellman (10th season)
Key players: Ana Muehlbauer, jr.; Hannah McReavy, jr.; Anna Wahl, sr.; Emma Creech, so.; Alex Holt, sr.; Josephine Howery, fr.
What to know: McReavy crossed the finish line in fourth place at last year's 3A state meet, and soon after was met by Muehlbauer, who placed 28th but later had surgery to repair a torn knee ligament.
Coach: Mike Schoudel
Key players: Sandra Dillinger, jr.; Kelsie Bragg, jr.; Natalie Graber, jr.; Annika DeWall, jr.; Zoe Austin, sr.; Eliza Miller, jr.
What to know: The Panthers' top four runners should make for a talented pack. Schoudel says the team is looking for a No. 5 to step in. Dillinger, Miller and Bragg are returning state qualifiers.
Also: Florence, James Irwin, Manitou Springs
2A | Region 2
Colorado Springs School
Coach: Jolly Burke (third season)
Key players: Sarah Weidman, sr.; Samantha Eisenberger, jr.
What to know: Weidman, a state qualifier a season ago, will be counted on to lead a team that hopes to develop its large group of younger runners.
Coach: Scott Lebo (sixth season)
Key players: Isabella Montoya, sr.; Adeline Thames, so.
What to know: Montoya is the Danes' returning captain and 3A state qualifier. Now that Fountain Valley is competing in 2A, look for Montoya to make noise in a smaller class. In addition, Lebo noted the improvements that Thames made throughout her rookie season as she ascended to the squad's No. 2 position.
The Vanguard School
Coach: Adam Rich (second season)
Key players: None.
What to know: Both of the Coursers' individual qualifiers for the 3A state meet graduated, and Rich has a young, but dedicated, team that hopes to make some noise in its return to 2A.
Also: CIVA, Ellicott, Peyton, ECA