In the most recent years, we have seen the task of winning the UIL 6A state team title get harder and harder. Part of that reason is because courses, runners, and teams are getting faster and the coaching is currently as good as ever.
This year's winning team looks to be a wide open race. The popular perception at the beginning of the year is that there could be a team not named The Woodlands or Southlake Carroll that would eventually win the 2018 6A title.
Last year, for the first time, two teams had all of their top five scoring runners run under 16:00. TWHS had done it the previous year, as they won the 1016 state title, but last year SLC also saw all of their scoring runners sub 16 on their way to a second place finish.
In both 2016 and 2017, the top six placing teams averaged 16:00 and under. The reason could be a combination of faster and better teams or it could also be the change in the course at Old Settlers.
No matter what the cause is, the effect is that it will take running under 16:00 to at the very least have a shot at the title. It also goes without saying that if anyone other than TWHS or SLC to win, 2016
they'll have to knock off two of the most dominating and consistent teams that Texas has seen. Both Katy Tompkins and Smithson Valley have proven this season that they are capable of doing both, beating TWHS and SLC and having their top five run sub 16:00. The two squads ran to sub 15:46 team averages last month at the McNeil Invitational as they both beat SLC. Tompkins also has a head to head win over TWHS at the Region III Preview and they should be considered one of the favorites heading into Saturday's race.
The overwhelming favorite to knock off everybody at the beginning of the season was Flower Mound. They have a 15:43 5K team average on the season. They have also gone pretty much unscathed the entire season winning every meet this year until the UIL 6A - Region 1 meet taking second to SLC. They also beat TWHS heads up at the Nike South Invitational.
Everything that has happened leading up to this weekend will basically become irrelevant. All will have to be proven on the day of the state meet to determine the champion. Getting five scoring runners to run well on November 3, 2018 will be the key and will be all that matters.
SLC won the Region 1 championship, TWHS won Region 2, Katy Tompkins won Region 3, and Smithson Valley won Region 4. All four teams will be four of the top contenders, but will any of them be able to win it all, or will it be another squad?