FARMINGTON — In 2013, the 4A boys track and field season was dominated by Farmington high schools, with Piedra Vista and Farmington finishing first and second in the state.
Both schools will look to reach those heights again during the 2014 season.
In the past couple of weeks, teams from across San Juan County have had the chance to compete in a few meets, and the coaches are beginning to see their squads take shape.
"I believe we will see three Four Corners teams in the top five," said PV head coach Mark Turner.
Turner said he thinks Aztec has the potential to jump into the mix with PV and FHS when the state meet comes up in May.
While PV is the defending champions in 4A, they have holes to fill throughout the team.
The graduation of a key group of seniors — led by Zach Johnson, who won the 100-meter and 200-meter titles last season and was part of PV's 4X100-meter title — has opened up places in the PV sprint and relay teams.
Turner said the teams are still in flux as the younger runners compete for spots within the relays.
"We've moved a lot of kids around," Turner said.
The Panthers will have star power returning to the team in Beau Clafton.
Clafton is the returning javelin state champion and is expected to factor into the sprints and long jump, too.
Turner is also looking for Matthew Gonzalez and Orion Kaminky to have strong seasons.
Gonzalez was part of PV's 4x400-meter relay title team, while Kaminky ran for the 4x100-meter title team last season.
"Kaminky is coming on strong from basketball, and his hurdle work is improving," Turner said. "Beau and Orion will be right up there, and I expect Matt Gonzalez to be there with them."
FHS also has a major hole to fill after the graduation of Jermey Klepac.
Klepac was the 4A top point scorer last season, winning state titles in the 300-meter hurdles and long jump. He was also part of the Scorpions 4x200-meter relay title team.
FHS head coach Jeff Dalton hopes the team's depth will make up for the loss of Klepac.
"We're going to need everybody to contribute," Dalton said. "We're going to have a lot of kids competing who haven't been to the state level, and their goal is to contribute points. That's what it takes. You can't win with five or six guys."
Dalton said the team's hurdling will again be a strong point, and he's looking for big seasons from Devin Hull and Avery Rasher in the jumping events.
"In hurdling, we've always had depth," he said. "One surprise is Devin Hull in the triple jump, who's up 5 feet on anybody in the state right now. Avery Rasher is also leading the high jump by a good margin."
Aztec will have its hand full trying to pass PV and FHS this season, but head coach Steve Lanier sees bright spots in his young team.
"We're still building and coming along better than expected," Lanier said. "Being in this district, you better get good or you won't be around long."
Lanier said his team's goals are simply to get as many kids qualified for the state meet in Albuquerque as possible.
The Aztec coach sees a couple of his guys as threats for individual titles, with Josh Harris in the 110-meter high hurdles and Greg Passarelli in pole vault expected to vie for championships.
Kirtland Central doesn't have the depth in most events to compete with the other three schools in the district. But the Broncos should be strong again in the throws with the return of Christian Mackey, who won the shot put and discus state championships last season.
In 3A, Bloomfield returns 300-meter hurdles state champion Adrian Vigil as the team will try to compete for a top five finish, while Shiprock will look to challenge in the distance events.