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Pre-Season Polls: A Look at the State
   Last year in the pre season rankings Southwest was ranked 11th despite not going to state the year before. This rank was probably mainly due to the addition of Forrest Tahdooahnippah who was the Region 3AA champion two years ago. Although they slipped off the rankings for almost the entire season, they came back to finish 13th at state in 2001. Southwest and Robbinsdale Armstrong had a close battle at the Regions 5AA meet in 2001, with Southwest losing off of a tie breaker. That was a different story at the state meet, with Armstrong finishing 16th. All that being said, let's take a look at the pre-season rankings of this year.
   Individually, Southwest senior Forrest Tahdooahnippah is ranked first. This is not surprising to most as Forrest is the top returning underclassman in the state and any doubts that may have surfaced about his conditioning in the spring were probably silenced after his state championship in the 3200 meters in track, with a state best time of 9:21.5. Neil Grosscup is ranked 8th in the State, probably in part for his second best time in state in the 3200 meters last spring of 9:21.8, despite his disappointing performance at the state meet. Forrest and Neil give Southwest the strongest 1-2 punch in the state based on pre-season polls.
   Teamwise, the Southwest men are ranked 8th. Mostly likely the ranking takes into account the fact that Southwest had no seniors on varsity or even the upper half of the junior varsity team last year. Also taking into account Southwest's 1-2 punch, it seems that the coaches association feels Southwest will improve this year at state from last year. Southwest is the only team ranked from Region 5AA and thus appears to be the favorite to win-- although last year they were also the favorite and they lossed. On the women's side, defending Region 5AA champion Callie Pastarr is not ranked in pre-season polls. While the team finished third in the Region last year, it is uncertain as to what might happen this year due to graduation of some seniors. It will be interesting to see how the season unfolds. The first race of the season is Early Bird, and it will take place in Thursday, August 22nd.

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