If you want to run a two-mile high school cross country event here in Colorado, you have two choices. In October, your choices dwindle to one.
But, the good news about the October event is that it's a lot easier to get into than the August event at Mountain Vista High School. Each October, University High School in Greeley takes pretty much anyone who indicates an interest in coming for their "Break Your Pace" two-mile event.
Formerly, this meet occupied a much earlier date on the schedule, but it migrated to October about the time league meets started exploring territory other than two weeks prior to State. And, that combination of changes proved to be magic for University's meet.
Now, all those cross country types from the northern half of the state who have completed their league meets and want something, but not too much, for the week in between their league meet and next week's regionals have a place to go. Greeley is the place.
How big is the meet? Well, this year there were 13 scoring teams in the boys race. That's not a monster meet, by any means, by Colorado standards, but it is a hefty size for a weekday meet here in Colorado. Most weekday meets only dream of drawing like this.
It was also almost entirely 3A-and-under schools, except that the local large schools did send delegations to the meet.
And, what did fans get for showing up? They got a pleasant autumn afternoon in Greeley, possibly a bit of sunburn if they stayed out too long, and a stirring finish in the boys race. It's possible they also got a dinner at some hipster location in Greeley as well, but there was probably a price tag with that.
On the boys side, they were treated to a nice finish close finish between Ryan Lehmuth, Andrew King, and Simon Kelati. Lehmuth won the battle at 10:15, but Kelati won the war when his third-place effort was backed up with a fourth from Ramon Villalobos Ocampo and a fifth from Arturo Toro.
That more or less left the black-and-orange singlets of Greeley Central in serious control. They'd go on to post 46 points to 69 for second-place University, the host school.
Until I saw this photo, I never pondered the difficulty of distinguishing the starter's pistol from the sound of roofing nail guns in the background. Hopefully, the starter was shooting a large caliber of blanks.
Things went a bit better for University, at least individually, in the girls race. Freshman Kylie Kravig put eleven seconds of gap on Resurrection Christian's Elllie Fantauzzo by the finish line for the win. Kravig stopped the clock in 12:27, not bad for a cross country course. Brush's Ashley Hinojos was a distant third.
None of that, however, did much to settle the team battle.
Team honors would end up going to Eaton, a team that may have needed a little bit of a lift like this after getting pushed back to third in Saturday's Patriot League contest in Estes Park. McKenna Cyphers led the Red charge with a fifth-place finish in 13:13.