Twelve cross country runners to watch Saturday at the Norris-Penrose Event Center

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Photo - Vanguard's Nick Lovato runs the final stretch of the 2A boys state cross country championships at the Norris-Penrose Event Center on Saturday, October 29, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette
Vanguard's Nick Lovato runs the final stretch of the 2A boys state cross country championships at the Norris-Penrose Event Center on Saturday, October 29, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

Colorado Springs took home five state cross country titles last year. Here are a few boys and girls to look out for Saturday at Norris-Penrose Event Center.

GIRLS
Paige Embaugh: Embaugh is not only back after missing last year’s state meet with a hip injury, but she’s a viable threat to secure the 4A crown. The Kadets will need a big day to knock off Battle Mountain for the team title.

Rachel Ingram: Half of Colorado Springs Christian’s talented backcourt during the girls’ basketball season, Ingram’s athletic ability has translated to the XC course as well. The junior won 3A region 2 and edged out state stalwart Hannah McReavy of St. Mary’s.

Bria Johnson: The sophomore won 2A region 2 by nearly 20 seconds over the rest of the field. Multi-state athlete Kate Griffin of Colorado Springs School was second. As a freshman, Johnson took 19th at state.

Isabella Prosceno: This Palmer Ridge freshman could very well steal the show in 4A. Prosceno won 4A region 2 in 18:31.04 at Monument Valley, edging out Air Academy’s talented duo of Embaugh and Tatum Miller.

Kyla Ramsey: The Rampart senior looks destined to improve on her 67th-place finish at the 2016 state meet. She took second amidst a talented field at the 5A region 5 meet at Monument Valley.

Anna Warmack: The Cheyenne Mountain junior was 28th at the state meet last year and appears to be on her way up. She finished fourth at the 4A region 5 meet in Durango.

BOYS
Cal Banta: With Ethan Powell off at Kansas State, Banta has been the No. 1 guy for Air Academy. The junior took second to Ryan Matson in regionals and should be among several area contenders in 4A.

Nick Lovato: The Vanguard School senior should contend for an individual title in the Class 2A race. Lovato was 11th in 2016 as the Coursers won the title. He trailed then-senior teammates Grant Hughes, who took fifth, and Harley Morgan, who was eighth.

Ryan Matson: Although Palmer Ridge isn’t as stacked as it was when it won the 4A XC title a year ago, Matson and the Bears could still make plenty of noise Saturday. The senior, who took 14th at this meet a year ago, was the hands-down winner at 4A region 2 last week. He conquered the sloping course at Monument Valley Park in 15 minutes and 54.23 seconds.

Connor McCabe: Mr. Reliable has Rampart in the team title conversation in 5A. McCabe’s first three years at state went like this: 14th, 21st and sixth. He finished fifth at the 5A region 5 race at Monument Valley.

Ryan Moen: Two-time XC champion Tanner Norman is gone but TCA is still in good hands. Moen took second at 3A Region 2, followed by teammate Mason Norman and Canaan Lamberth. The Titans are a serious threat in 3A.

Cole Munoz: Maximilliano Martinez was the face of the program a year ago when Widefield won its first regional title and finished a school-best second at state. Munoz is the guy this year for the Gladiators. The senior took seventh last year at state and won the 4A region 5 race in 16:05 a week ago.