The Monticello Panthers are defending Class 2A boys’ state cross country champions, and the top five runners return.
One running website has taken note.
XCnation.com has the Panthers ranked No. 1 in the nation for schools with 500 students or less in its 2012 preseason rankings.
Monticello won the 2A title with 73 points last fall, with all five of its scorers finishing in under 17 minutes.
Michael Melchert (16:05), Ben Ahlrichs (16:21), J.J. Frawley (16:26), Tiler Streets (16:31) and Dallas Lumpa (16:53) all are projected to return this fall. Melchert and Ahlrichs will be juniors; Frawley, Streets and Lumpa will be seniors.
Anthony Kinley, the Panthers’ No. 7 runner last year at state, will be a junior. Dan Sauser is the Panthers’ coach.
Monticello was ranked fifth nationally in last year’s postseason small-school class.
West Des Moines Dowling is No. 5 in the girls’ rankings for schools with enrollments of 500-plus, and No. 8 in the boys’ rankings.