Sanborn may have an unusually strong team — perhaps the strongest small school squad in decades — but it will still need to be in peak form to overtake Pinkerton as the king of area boys cross country.
The Astros, who will try to unseat defending Division 1 champ Concord, can boast perhaps the top one-two punch in the region with Luke Brennan and Stephen Connelly and always develop impressive depth.
Moreover, Sanborn won’t even have a clear path to area supremacy in Division 2. Windham, led by Rohan Rai, was fourth in Division 2 last year (ahead of Sanborn) with a young squad and will challenge the Indians as the best team in the division behind nationally ranked Coe-Brown (which is facing Sanborn in two dual meets).
It should make for interesting — assuming they’re still held (invitationals are not allowed due to the coronavirus) — divisional meets as well as the Meet of Champions.
Elsewhere, Salem should be improved led by ever improving Jackson Mazejka while Timberlane will regroup behind captain Ryan McClure in an attempt to overcome the loss of injured standout Matt Fairhurst, who is likely out for the season.
2019 season: 3rd in Division 1
Top returning runners: Stephen Connelly, Sr.; TJ Davis, Sr.; Luke Brennan, Jr.; Jack Cameron, Jr.; Theo Davis, Soph.; Elias Brodeur, Soph.
Promising newcomers: Ryan Boulanger, Frosh.; Nathan Binda, Frosh.
Coach Mike Clark (39th year)
2019 season: 11th in Division 1
Top returning runners: Jackson Mazejka Sr.; Mark Caswell, Sr.; Jacob Grimes, Soph.
Promising newcomers: Samuel Scala, Frosh.; Colby Savageau, Frosh.; Josh Tarara, Frosh.
Coach Cam Pavao (2nd year)
2019 season: 16th in Division 1
Top returning runners: Ryan McClure, Sr.; Michael Gordon, Jr.; Cam Ingram, Soph.; Thomas Young, Soph.
Promising newcomers: Benjamin Bozek, Frosh.; Jacob Raymond, Frosh.
Co-coaches Brian Deveney (20th year), Mark Behan (23rd year)
2019 season: 15th in Division 2
Top returning runners: Kenny Pawlowicz, Sr.; Ryan Bellahrossi, Sr.; Nick Snyder, Jr.; Matt Benson, Soph.; Brandon Kenney, Soph.
Promising newcomers: Dominik Sarantis, Frosh.; Logan Dumont, Frosh.
Coach Brandon Hannon (4th year)
2019 season: 4th in Division 2
Top returning lettermen: Rohan Rai, Sr.; Trey Gonzalez, Sr.; Cole Flenniken, Sr.; Michael Killian, Jr.; Logan Carter, Soph.
Promising newcomers: Brady Carroll, Jr.; Braden Sanchez, Jr.; Sam Skilling, Jr.; Jack Conrad, Soph.
Coach Kelly Fox (5th year)
2019 season: 8th in Div. 2
Top returning lettermen: Dylan Khalil, Sr.; Owen Stocker, Sr.; Andrew Pugh, Jr., Noah Cavallo, Jr.; Jared Khalil, Soph.; Gavin O’Connell, Soph.
Promising newcomers: Jake Tedford, Sr., Jacob Thomas, Jr.; Tyson Khalil, Frosh.
Coach Scott Maxwell (11th year)