Providence boys do lose 3 of their top 7 guys from last season, though they have some holes to fill amongst their top 5 guys I'm sold on their top 3 being really strong this season with a lot of potential left in XC. Russell Engle returns with a PR of 16:25 and placed 39th in 4A last season. After running the first meet of the season Engle didn't race again until the conference meet missing around 2 months of racing. So I'd say for all the time he missed he had a pretty successful year. But when you look at the track season he had it shows how good he could be this year if he remains healthy. Engle took 6th at the 4A State Championships in the 1600 running 4:23 and doubled back to PR in the 3200 as well clocking 9:45 to finish 10th overall. Engle will be a senior this season, so after a lot of success on the track and the drive from missing 2 months of racing last XC season I think he's capable of a top 5 finish in 4A this season.
Elliott Schultz returns as Providence's #2 guy after having a big junior year running 16:35. Schultz took 10th in the 4A West Region and 42nd overall at the NCHSAA State Championships. Schultz was pretty consistent last season breaking 17 in all but two races and I think is someone Providence will be able to rely on this season. On the track Schultz took another big step running 2:02 and 4:32, a 10 and 12 second PR respectively. Pace Clark showed a lot of development on the track during his sophomore season running 9:54 indoors and 4:40 for the 1600 outdoors. Last year was his first ever XC season and he steadily improved over the course of the season from an 18:24 down to a 16:50! Clark took 55th at the NCHSAA 4A State Championships and should certainly be at least a top 30 guy this year. Clark narrowly missed the outdoor state meet as an individual in the 3200 last year as well placing 5th in the 4A West Region.
Cameron Wright will return as Providence's #4 with a PR of 17:07. Wright holds PRs on the track of 4:47 and 10:38, but seems to have struggled on the track last year not setting PRs in any event. Wright also didn't finish out the XC season missing about a month of racing leading up to the conference meet. Wright's heading into his senior year and Providence will hope to have him step up big. Kyle Overton was a varsity runner for the Panthers last year running 17:23. But he really didn't run track other than one race significantly above his PR leading me to think he's working back from an injury. Overton ran 4:45 for the 1600 as a freshman, so if he is back and healthy he will be big for Providence this season.
Casper Caudill will be a rising senior this year and returns with a XC PR of 18:22. He improved on the track last season running 4:53 for the 1600, but will still be looking for a breakthrough in XC. David Benton was also sub 5 last track season as a sophomore running 4:58. Benton improved a lot last XC season running a PR of 18:02 an will look to take another step forward this season. The Panther's won't have tremendous depth this season, but with a really strong top 3 and having a historically strong program I'm confident they'll have two others step up for them this season.