When Natalie Anderson found out her 3A cross country team would be splitting off with Paonia High School and dropping to Class 2A, she already knew who her strongest competition would be.
Crested Butte's Amber Scott and Telluride's Rachel Hampton are ranked first and second going into today's 2A Region 4 meet.
Anderson is ranked third. Her best time this season, 19:00.2, is about 17 seconds shy of Scott's best. But neither Crested Butte nor Telluride is expected to win the team title at today's 2A Region 4 meet in Delta. With Jenni Celis, Mae Anderson, Sophia Schelle and Tiffany Clock all ranked in the top 15, Hotchkiss is the favored team.
On the boys' side, Cody Bartlett set out to run a sub-16:30 at Anna Banana and beat his own expectations to finish in 16:21.
Bartlett is ranked No. 2 in the region, behind Rangely's William Scoggins.
Bulldogs Andrew Tiedemann and Kurt Katzdorn are ranked sixth and seventh respectively, making Hotchkiss today's team favorite ahead of second-ranked Crested Butte Community School.
Tyrell Clock is ranked at 14, and Taylor Schreiner is in the top 25. Both have steadily decreased their times over the season.
Races will begin at 1:30 p.m., at Confluence Park in Delta.
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The 2A boys will have the opportunity to run first, followed by the 2A girls' race. Class 3A races and 4A races will follow.