Special to Colorado Track XC by Alan Small
Not much is better than a late summer day in Colorado unless that day involves over one and a half miles of uphill running on an unusually warm day. There was a lot of concern about the lack of rain on the Elizabeth course until a relentless deluge on Monday firmed up the course and left a muddy surprise in the third mile.
The mud, though, proved to be a mere nuisance for what turned out to be some highly competitive races. Some schools, like Douglas County, used the day to give some runners a breather after Liberty Bell and look at some new faces; others saw an opportunity to go after a meet victory and loaded up.
The first race belonged to the varsity girls and the sun. The Golden Demons showed they were comfortable in the heat. Mary Fox and Jadyn Goodrich finished 1st and 2nd setting a scorching pace on the course. In the end, Golden placed 5 girls in the top twenty to burn up the competition with a score of 40.
Lakewood's Carley Bennett always shows up big at Elizabeth and took home a third place finish. Collectively, the D'Evelyn squad continued to show their new found confidence. With 4 in the top 11, they easily took home the second place finish. Green Mountain placed a strong third just ahead of the re-tooled Denver North squad.
On the boy's side, last year's champ Michael Long of Douglas County took the day off leaving Elizabeth's David Fine and Lakewood's Chase Dornbush to fight it out. The pair ran side by side until Dornbusch found in the mud an opportunity to open a gap on Fine. Both tried to pace their team to a team win, but the rest of the race would have to tell the story for the boys.
Lakewood's second runner would come in at 14 and by that time, D'Evelyn, Golden, and Elizabeth had all pushed across three runners. By this time, D'Evelyn seemed to have the upper hand, led by Lucas Jordan's 3rd-place effort. Lakewood got everyone in by 23, D'Evelyn shortly after. In the end, D'Evelyn squeaked out a 1 point victory over Lakewood 77-78. Golden and Elizabeth held on for third and fourth.
In the open races, Green Mountain's Summer Olson paced the girls with a convincing win, almost 40 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. On the boys side, Jack Swanson of Golden made his statement in taking the boys race ahead of Green Mountain's Alex Walker.