Jordan Montera beat the heat and the field to win in 17:14. Photo by Alan Versaw.
The heat? It was relentless. Under the best of conditions, Air Academy is a tough course. And the best of conditions do not include temperates in the high 80s.
But, while the Colorado Springs schools were doing their best to cope with the conditions, the Pueblo schools may have felt just a little more at home. Call heat acclimation a geographical advantage (if you consider it an advantage to practice cross country with temperatues in the high 90s in mid September).
The Division I boys race was dominated by Pueblo. Jordan Montera of Pueblo West patiently bided his time, waiting for the heat to wilt those who had gone out too hard in front of him. Slowly but surely, they all fell off their early paces, leaving a golden opportunity for Montera to pick off the early leaders in route to a ten-second victory. That ten-second victory came over another patient Pueblo harrier--Brandon Lange of Pueblo South.
Meanwhile, Lange's teammates were doing the dirty work behind him, finishing 10-12-18-28 to close out the team scoring with 70. Coronado came closest at 87.
In the girls' race, Air Academy notched a nice 1-2 finish by Amelia Evans (20:51) and Kellyn Roiko (21:03), but couldn't hold off the charge of Coronado for the team title.
Alexis Work was Coronado's top finisher in sixth, but the team scoring of 6-8-11-21-24 was 32 points fewer than Air Academy could handle.
In the Division II races, it was the JV teams from larger schools doing the mopping up--Coronado among the boys and Doherty among the girls.
The top small school team finishers were Rocky Ford among the boys and Rocky Ford again among the girls. Both Rocky Ford and Fountain Valley appear to be one strong runner away from fielding some very good 2A state teams. Rocky Ford does it the unconventional way, borrowing two runners from Fowler--Brooke Grissom and Zoe Fedde--in a cooperative arrangement with a neighboring school in the Lower Arkansas Valley.
Individually, the smaller schools held their own against the JV teams from the big schools. Brooke Grissom took the Division II girls title in 21:41. Pikes Peak Chistian's Micah Tate did the same, capturing the boys title in 19:03.