Boys Preseason Team Power Rankings #16-#25

25. Houston Strake Jesuit

Head Coach: Coach Mike Kerley
Last year's finish: UIL 6A State 16th place
Key returners: Eric Lara (Jr), Will Botard (Sr), Robert Botard (Sr), Andrew Spires (Sr)
Projected top 7: Eric Lara (Jr), Will Botard (Sr), Andrew Spires (Sr), Alex Mills (Sr), Robert Botard (Sr), Alex Mills (Sr), Stephen Schneidau(Sr)
Will's Outlook: Strake Jesuit returns an upperclassman group, many who got experience last year at the state meet. They are led by preseason All-Stater Eric Lara (2017 UIL 6A 12th place) who will be looking to help lead the state individually and his team to an even better season. Strake Jesuit is no stranger to the state meet as they have represented Region 3 for many years. Region 3-6A will be a tough region with many quality teams looking to get one of the four qualifying spots, but expect Jesuit to be right there once again.

24. Katy Seven Lakes

Head Coach: Coach Marvin Rathke
Last year's finish: UIL 6A State- 15th place
Key returners: Carson Slater (Jr), Corbin Brescher (Jr)
Projected top 7: Carson Slater (Jr), Corbin Brescher (Jr), Josh Kuriakose (Sr), Zach Skillman (Sr), Babriel Baribaldi (Sr), Andrew Nugent (Jr), Peyton Hanna (Jr)
Will's Outlook: Seven Lakes has become a Region 3-6A regular qualifying team. Coach Rathke has been turning out good distance runners and teams since the school opened and there are no signs of that stopping any time soon. The Spartans did graduate two from last year's top seven, but they have experience from right in the ranks to move up and take over. This year's team looks to be full of juniors and seniors, which will be important when district and regionals come around. Their district always gets increasingly tougher as does the region. The experience will be key for them to do their thing once again.

23. Coppell

Head Coach: Coach Nicholas Benton
Last year's finish: UIL Region 2-6A 5th place
Key returners: Kazimir Carlsen-Phelan (Sr), Marcos Bohn (Sr), Nathaniel Leach (Sr), Cole Lindbeck (Sr), Grant Evans (Sr)
Projected top 7: Kazimir Carlsen-Phelan (Sr), Marcos Bohn (Sr), Nathaniel Leach (Sr), Cole Lindbeck (Sr), Grant Evans (Sr), Garrett Freddo (Sr), Justin Chow (Sr)
Will's Outlook:  Honestly, this is one team I am excited to see how their season goes. They are well coached and are just a tough dang team to beat. Last year, they just missed qualifying for state as the ended in the #5 team spot, but it wasn't for lack of effort. They return six of the seven and they are a team that could be full of senior unless they get some good surprises coming in. Their off season will depict how dangerous they become. Based on last year's PRs, they have a 16:25 average with a 56 second split. At last year's region they had a 16:40 average and a 24 second split. With a team full of seniors they run well as a team and could be a very very good team this year.

22. El Paso Americas

Head Coach: Coach Ken Lucero
Last year's finish: UIL Region 6-1A 6th place
Key returners: Jacob Ye (Jr), Tyler Rodriguez (Sr), Alek Duran (Sr), Seth Andrade (Jr), Kevin Campbell (Sr), Hector Sanchez (Jr), Gage Garcia (So)
Projected top 7: Jacob Ye (Jr), Tyler Rodriguez (Sr), Alek Duran (Sr), Seth Andrade (Jr), Kevin Campbell (Sr), Hector Sanchez (Jr), Gage Garcia (So)
Will's Outlook: Americas perhaps is one of the most overlooked squads in the state. They are out west, have to contend with Eastwood, San Ellie, and Tornillo and on top of that they are in Region 1-6A. Yep, the "Region of Doom" can swallow a team up easily. However, Americas doesn't run afraid and even though they had to deal with five of the top teams in the state they still put up a tough fight. This year, they have a really good shot at making it out as a team even with the graduation of one of the top seven. While it will not be easy by any means, they have the upperclassmen to do it with all juniors and seniors. Coach Lucero also has a pretty good youngster in Gage Garcia who has some speed on the track but will be important in the top seven. They won their district this past track season and if you overlook them at regionals, well just consider this an upset alert.

21. Keller

Head Coach: Coach James Zaring
Last year's finish: UIL Region 1-6A 7th place
Key returners: Logan Mitchell (Sr), Henry Dodds (Sr), Colin Torrey (Sr), Trevor Chapman (Jr), Luke Canon (Jr)
Projected top 7: Logan Mitchell (Sr), Henry Dodds (Sr), Colin Torrey (Sr), Trevor Chapman (Jr), Luke Canon (Jr), Rickey Schandevel (Sr), Travis Rose (So)
Will's Outlook: Coach Zaring did a heck of a job with the boys team, but they also got consumed by the overflow of talent in the "Region of Doom". They lose three important pieces to graduation, but they return three from last year's top seven including #1 Logan Mitchell. Mitchell should be one of the top individuals making them more potent to go along with a pretty experienced core of returners. They will have to battle and be as sharp and opportunistic as can be at regional, but they can grab a spot for state if they do so.

20. Austin St. Stephens

Head Coach: Coach Paul Carrozza
Last year's finish: SPC State 1st place
Key returners: Crayton Carrozza (Sr), Travis Dowd (Sr), Philip Chang (Sr), Jayan Nitzsche (So), Cole Mcquinn (Jr), David Allen (Sr), Julian Baeza (Jr)
Projected top 7: Crayton Carrozza (Sr), Travis Dowd (Sr), Philip Chang (Sr), Jayan Nitzsche (So), Cole Mcquinn (Jr), David Allen (Sr), Julian Baeza (Jr)
Will's Outlook: Coach Carrozza is probably one of the most underrated coaches in the state as is his team. This group has quietly been one of the top teams over the last couple of years and this year they will be VERY good. I'm not sure how good as I have them at #20, but I think they will actually run far better than this ranking. They have two of preseason All-State runners in Carrozza and Dowd, but they are so much more than a two man team. They have guys that can absolutely roll because even though this is cross country, these guys will put it on you in an 800m race at the same time. What will be good for Texas XC is to see them in more races with the bigger schools. If they get their 4-7 runners to 16 mid this could be NXN qualifier type of team, yes I said it!

19. Del Rio

Head Coach: Coach Vicky Perez
Last year's finish: UIL 6A State 12th place
Key returners: Raymon Gonzalez (Jr), Jonathan Lowe (Sr), Cristian Sanchez (Sr), Rolando Lopez (Sr), Ryamon Gonzalez (Sr), Matthew Ortiz (Sr), Romeo Burciaga (Sr)
Will's Outlook: One thing about Del Rio is that no matter who they have in the uniform, they'll more than likely be at the state meet. Most teams haven't to figure out how to get to state, well they haven't figured out how not to get to state. They make it work just about every year. In saying that, they lose one of the more consistent runners over the last four years with the graduation of Max Smith (2017 UIL 6A 7th). Coach Perez will turn the reigns over to junior and our preseason 4th team All-Stater Raymon Gonzalez. Gonzalez will be an absolute stud this season and he has a plethora of seniors running with him possibly gunning for the team finish in school history. They have a returning squad with a 16:18.60 average and 52 split. Region 4-6A is loaded this year, but I see no reason why Del Rio won't do their thing once again in 2018.

18. Luling

Head Coach: Coach Brady Hand
Last year's finish: UIL 3A 1st place
Key returners: Edwin Zamudio (Sr), Johnny Castanon (Sr), Jesus Osario (Jr), Thomas Roberts (Sr), Aden Gonzalez (Sr)
Will's Outlook: Well, it's another season and it seems like the same ole story. Luling is one of the state's best teams once again and the top 3A team. They went through another graduation hit, which saw them lose two important seniors including the most recent face of the program. However, they are still the Long Green Mile and they have another group of quality runners. The formula to winning is subjective, but this year's Luling squad still has two key ingredients that will be in any winning recipe - a low stick runner and experience. Edwin Zamudio (UIL 3A - 3rd 15:44.85) is their low stick and this group is even more experienced than last year's group as they have at least five guys who have as many championship rings as they have math credits. In their second year under Coach Hand, things should pretty much stay the same and we could be seeing Luling hoist up an unprecedented 9th first place team trophy in a row.

17. Marcus

Head Coach: Coach Steve Telaneus
Last year's finish: UIL District 5-6A 5th place
Key returners: Harold Murphey, (Sr), Joseph Tiller (Jr), Ryan Fillingim (Jr), Carter Reed (Sr), Aiden Lyons (So)
Projected top 7: Harold Murphey, (Sr), Joseph Tiller (Jr), Ryan Fillingim (Jr), Carter Reed (Sr), Aiden Lyons (So), Mason Rainford (Jr), Chris Montgomery (Sr)
Will's Outlook:  Coach Telaneus returns an experienced group who has battled in the toughest district and region in all of Texas. This year will be no different in that they will still have an elite battle week in and week out, but it'll definitely sharpen them and have them in a position to move on in every step of championship season.  They did graduate Jacob Egan, but this will still be a very good team as they're returning average is 16:18.12 and their split is an impressive 35.99. If they live up to that, then watch out!

16. Katy Tompkins

Head Coach: Coach Walter Yarrow
Last year's finish: UIL 6A State 5th place
Key returners: Cole Lindhorst (Jr), Justin Duffy (Sr), Adam Smith (Sr), Jacob Heflin (Sr), Bryce Wiley (Sr)
Projected top 7: Cole Lindhorst (Jr), Justin Duffy (Sr), Adam Smith (Sr), Jacob Heflin (Sr), Bryce Wiley (Sr), Aidan Cremins (Sr), Abdon Verdejo-Parada (Sr)
Will's Outlook: Tompkins is just six years old and Coach Yarrow is in just his second year at the school, but boy does he inherit quite the program. Program? Yep, in just the sixth year, there are over 50 boys in practice and school hasn't even started yet. It is in one of the toughest districts in the state that is bubbling with both outstanding coaching and talent, they were able to win the district and went to state for the first time in team history. They lose two senior leaders inclucing All-Stater Daniel Figueroa (2017 UIL 6A - 9th), but junior Cole Lindhorst returns after an outstanding track season where he qualified for the state track meet in both the 1600m and 3200m. They have experience coming back in bundles with the rest of the top seven being made up of seniors. Nobody saw 5th place in them last year, but this team is hungry and is another dangerous senior laden team that saw what they needed to see last year. If they're hungry and determined, you just might be looking at a podium team.