Tiya Tamberlin leads the Division 2 race through the early stages.
Lanie Szuch was quick off her toes, running five meters ahead of the chase pack. She eyed the open green field in front of her, and felt comfortable knowing there was no one in front of her, disrupting her gaze. Her arms pumped but not with aggression, it was more mechanical, as if she was simply sitting down into her rhythm.
But this was the first 200 meters of the Division 2 race, and she still had three miles to go.
"Easy! Easy! Easy!"
Shouts from the sideline reminded the Evergreen freshman that there was still a lot of racing ahead, and she quickly corrected her pace. Szuch pumped the breaks enough to tuck in behind Wheat Ridge's Tiya Chamberlin and Green Mountain's Kasey Klocek.
Chamberlin, who won Division 2 at Liberty Bell a few weeks ago, and this race last year, pressed the pace. Her loose curls flowed in her wake. Behind her, however, Szuch patiently bid her time.
The neon in Szuch's green uniform was enhanced by the beaming sun, which was providing no favors in terms of temperature. It was a hot afternoon at the Dave Sanders Invitational, but that didn't stop anyone from paying tribute to the man the meet was named after by giving it all their effort.
Szuch and Chamberlin raced on in tandem, but when they entered the final mile Szuch knew it was time to go.
"I tried to stay calm, and positive," Szuch explained. "There were points I wasn't so sure, so I had to stay calm."
Szuch sprinted into the finishing shoot with bright orange linings on each side. She only had 100 meters to go now. She pumped her arms - aggressively now, and lifter her knees. With her head slightly tilting back she kept her eyes on the open course in front of her.
A welcome sight.
She could see the finish now and the crowd cheered her on. The race wasn't over just yet - Chamberlin was in hot pursuit, but quickly running out of real estate. The duo brought the crowd to its feet as they neared the the finish. The crescendo crashed as Szuch crossed the line in 18:47 for her second victory of the season. Chamberlin crossed just one second later in 18:48.
"Today I wanted to do boost my confidence," Szuch said. "I wasn't about to let the win go."
The duo were the only sub 19s coming from the Division 2 race. A total of five went under 20 minutes, including third place finisher Kasey Klocek, who finished in 19:29, Ashten Loeks in 19:43, and Taylor Haerbig in 19:44.
In the team race there was battle for the title, though it was 3A No. 3 D'Evelyn that had their day, tallying 66 points. Green Mountain finished second with 78 points, while Golden finished third with 89 points.
Next Page: Dakota Ridge shows their cards...