The Individual Title Race
Defending Class 4 State Champion Wes Porter has graduated and moved on the University of Virginia, which means the winner of the Class 5 title will be someone new.
Matthew Hauser (Rock Bridge) is the top overall returner in Missouri this year, and placed third last year at the state meet as a junior. His PR of 15:24 in that race, certainly puts him in striking distance of the course record of 15:07 and the 15:00 barrier. He'll be a strong favorite to win the inaugural Class 5 individual title, and will hope to help his team to the title as well.
Marquette's Ethan Koop is the next best finisher from state a year ago, where he placed seventh. His time of 15:45 is the third fastest returning time in Class 5, and he'll look to improve this year and make a run for the top five and help his team push for a state trophy.
Some other athletes to look out for this fall include Brock Wooderson (Blue Springs), Sam Travis (Liberty North), Thomas Andersen (Parkway West), Nathan Barry (Central - St. Joseph), and Stone Burke (Marquette).
The Team Title Race
The team title race looks to be very interesting this year as well, with defending champion Ray-Pec graduating four of its top five runners.
Central (St. Joseph) has the early edge in the virtual meet, and returns their entire top five and six of their top seven from last year's fifth place team.
Challenging them will likely be Rock Bridge who placed third last year and returns four of its top five, and five of it's top seven heading into this season.