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The boys race is a little less decided on a team front. A number of programs have been historically good in this race over the last several years, but 2018's version doesn't offer any definitive favorites.
If we had to guess, Washington's Kamiakin, an automatic qualifier last year and a team that's placed in the top four in three out of the last six seasons, is probably due for a win. They're the highest ranked boys team on the MileSplit50 entering the meet on Saturday.
In terms of sheer depth, the Braves come in with the most of any team in the region and should put together a good race. Check below for analysis on potential qualifiers and spoilers.
2017: 1. Central Valley (WA), Kamiakin (WA), 3. Crater (OR), 4. Bozeman (MT)
2016: 1. Bozeman (MT), 2. Summit (OR), 3. North Spokane (WA), 4. Skyline (ID)
2015: 1. Summit (OR), 2. Bozeman (MT), 3. North Central (WA), 4. Crater (OR)
2014: 1. North Central (WA), 2. Summit (OR), 3. Kamiakin (WA), 4. Gig Harbor (WA)
2013: 1. Gig Harbor (WA), North Central (WA), 3. Central Catholic (OR), 4. Nathan Hale (WA)
2012: 1. North Spokane (WA), 2. Kamiakin (WA), 3. Summit (OR), 4. Seattle Prep (WA)
Teams To Pay Attention To:
- No. 12 Kamiakin (WA): They enter with an average of 15:46.55 and with a host of quality runners. Senior Ryan Childs likely won't, and shouldn't, take out the race with the leaders, but he'll be important for the rest of the lineup as it looks to position itself in a deep field. If Kamiakin can manage a low spread, there's a good chance the team wins here. The squad is coming off a win in the Class 3A state championships in Washington.
- No. 21 Spokane Lewis And Clark (WA): They didn't have the best race at state, finishing fourth in the Class 4A meet to Tahoma, Central Valley and Camas -- all teams you'll find in the mix here. So what's the upside? The program certainly can run with the best of the Northwest. With three runners under 16 minutes, Lewis and Clark could have a solid first three scorers. But the team will need to put together an impeccable race in the back of their lineup to grab a spot.
- Tahoma (WA): What exactly to expect from Tahoma? Good question. The squad was the surprise of the Class 4A championships, winning with 47-second spread and 16:00 average. Earlier this season, Tahoma also earned a big win at Nike Portland, winning by seven points over Camas. Their average of 15:51.54 isn't the best, but all five runners are capable of going under 16 minutes and performing up to the moment. Don't sleep on this team.
- Bozeman (MT): Speaking of sleepers, Bozeman should be within an earshot of the contenders, too. Bozeman has been the best performing boys team in this region for the past three seasons. While none of the squad's boys have gone under 15 minutes, there's a decent chance the Hawks perform beyond anyone's expectations of them.
- Central Valley (WA): Simply by virtue of their finish last year, we need to keep this team under watch. They went with the 13th best average in the Northwest with a 15:58.28, and senior Ryan Kline could put together a top 10 performance on this course. The club has two runners under 16 minutes and three more around 16:15.
- Camas (WA): The team enters with the best average of any team in the Northwest. Camas averages 15:41.14 and could have all five runners under 16 minutes in a best case scenario. But the team finished third in the Class 4A race in Washington.
- Evan Holland, Ashland (OR): He's undefeated in six races this year, including a career best 14:53.20 at the Warner Pacific Classic and his first state championship in Oregon. He might be the favorite here.
- Joe Waskom, Mount Si (WA): While he was third at Nike Portland and second in his conference championship, Waskom put together a championship effort at state, winning the Class 4A race in a career best 15:16.20.
- Nick Russell, Bishop Kelly (ID): Russell qualified last year, finishing fifth at the Northwest meet in 15:19.30. He was also an All-American at NXN. While his regular season wasn't flawless, Russell won when it mattered, earning a Class 4A title in Idaho, his third straight, in 15:11.25.
- Bradley Peloquin, Gig Harbor (WA): He was fourth in his state championships in Washington, which had to be disappointing, but Peloquin has been otherwise very good throughout 2018. He ran a career PR of 15:06.50 at Nike Portland and was 18th in this race last year.
- Ben Perrin, Flathead (MT): He was seventh in this race last year, just missing out on an auto-bid, and has been undefeated for the entirety of his senior season, including his first Montana state title. His teams are jaw-droppingly fast, but Perrin knows how to race and he will be in the hunt for a qualifier here.
- Zachary Erikson, Idaho Falls (ID): The field will be strong with runners from Idaho, and Erikson is coming off a second-place finish at states. He ran a PR of 15:09.40 on this course in September, so he'll know when to make his move and could be in a position to go for a bid.
- Stetson Moss, Thunder Ridge (ID): The junior was the surprise finisher at Northwest last year, running to third before grabbing an All-American place (17th) at NXN the very next week. Russell, Erikson and Moss are as close to a top three in Idaho that you'll get. Each will be capable of winning this race.
- Nathan Green, Borah (ID): There are four legitimate candidates from Idaho that could race well at Northwest. While only a sophomore, Green is definitely a strong contender for a top five finish. He's won seven out of eight races and capped off his sophomore season with a Class 5A title in Idaho with a season best 15:10.07. He's only getting faster.
Other athletes to watch: Jonas Price, Yakima Eisenhower (WA); Daniel Maton, Camas (WA); Zane Fodge, McMinnville (OR); Ryan Kline, Central Valley; Joseph Skoog, Henry M. Jackson; Tim Stevens, Union (OR) Quincy Norman, Forest Grove (OR)