1. Derick Peters, West Central (SD)
In his home state, Peters is likely to take the win here at Yankton Trail Park. Having run a 14:53 at the Lennox Invitational this year, he has seven seconds on the next-best time in the region ran thus far.
But Peters has been red hot all year long, posting a time of 15:49 at the Roy Griak Invitational on the brutal Les Bolstad golf course to win in a stacked field of very talented athletes. He also has showed no sign of slowing down as he won his state meet by 52 seconds, virtually annihilating the rest of the field.
Though Peters may seem far out of anyone's reach, he has run against very little competition all year long and has not qualified for NXN just yet. Will the pressure of being the favorite impact his race?
With a deep field of gifted Heartland athletes running together, this is Peters' race to lose, but the chances are he won't.