Week in review, the rest of the story

You've heard about Josh Davis, but it Lamar wins a state title, it will be on account of the contributions of guys like Zach Watson, who finished fourth in Friday's Tri-Peaks League meet. Photo by Tim Hilt.

As you'll note reading through this piece, the new thing is to rest your regulars during the league meet. This is more true at the 4A and 5A levels than in the smaller classifications, but the trend is clearly making ranks in the 2A and 3A domains as well. I'm sure it didn't orginate with him, but as a young coach I remember learning this strategy from the example of Gary Weston on Liberty. Since he was winning state championships at the time, it looked like a good strategy to me, and I adopted it. Since then, it's proven its worth independently of any example provided by other coaches.

What we're starting to see now is league meets moving back into the traditional last week of invitationals. Three leagues did that this year. Expect more to follow suit next year. Cross country season management strategy is a constantly evolving affair. Those who can roll with the flow and change old patterns are likely to be next year's survivors.

3A Metro League Cross Country Meet

It looks like Peak to Peak was laying off at this one--and especially so on the girls side. That led to two league titles becoming relatively easy pickings for Holy Family. 

The clock is getting close to striking midnight for the Peak to Peak and Kent Denver girls and both teams have questions remaining to be answered. We'll see what regionals hold for these teams. 

The Faith Christian boys ran Yeager-less. Don't expect that to happen again this week. 

All in all, it appears there was a lot of cat-and-mouse going on at the 3A Metro, but we'll salute Erich Hixson and Katie (yes, Katie, not Lindsey) Chavez as the league individual titleists.

Meet Results

Girls Highlights

Black Forest League XC Meet

Holding back here were the Vanguard teams. But, Vanguard was able to win the meet nevertheless with one metaphorical hand behind their back. More detail in the story linked below.

On-Site Coverage

One Shy of a Clean Sweep

Peyton's Tristan Heffner averted a clean sweep of the Black Forest honors for the Vanguard Coursers. Photo by Alan Versaw.

Centennial League Cross Country Meet

Doubtless many of you have pondered the same thought I have over the last two or three days--What is the meaning of the dead heat (for all practical purposes) between Jordyn Colter and Erin Norton here. Norton is a fine runner, no doubt, but there are about three girls in the state we expect to be able to run with Colter. And, Colter was missing last week at Pat Amato. So, questions arise. This week may answer some of those questions.

So far as team scoring goes, a first is a first, and Colter thus did her part for the Cherry Creek cause. And Creek had a huge margin for error in their team title here. Grandview goes second and looks to be heading to state, as does Arapahoe in third.

For the boys, Arapahoe took the expected victory, but five points over Cherry Creek is closer than we expected. In a bigger meet, though, Arapahoe leverages a much bigger advantage at 4 and 5 than they did here. And, Louis Hood doesn't figure to be Arapahoe's #7 runner very often. So, we will forgive ourselves for thinking Arapahoe might have been laying just a little low for this one.

Teams laying low or not, a hats-off to Smoky Hill's Blake Yount for taking the individual title. 

Colorado Springs Metro 4A-5A Championships

Last year, Coronado nailed down the top seven places in the CS Metro 4A boys and girls races. This year, they missed that by only three slots--those slots being taken by Shao Jun Liu and Maximilliano Martinez of Widefield and Alissa Mastronardi of Mitchell. Coronado will try to take that kind of domination to the 5A division next year, but it figures to be harder ground to plow.

Among 5A boys, Rampart took Doherty down by one solitary point. Figure that Doherty spends all of the next four days thinking about that point. Pine Creek took the girls field by 44 points. They can think about those 44 points all they want, but Pine Creek doesn't figure to be catchable, at least not by any Colorado Springs schools, at this week's regional.

Pine Creek and Coronado snared all four individual titles--being claimed by Zachary Alhamra, Bailey Roth, Kaleigh Kroeker, and Gabrielle Roth.

On-Site Coverage

League Meet Frenzy!

If you were figuring on the Arvada West girls rolling over and playing dead for the Jeffco 5A title, you'd be sadly mistaken about that. Photo by Della Moore.

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

EMAC Cross Country Championships

For the unitiated, EMAC stands for "East Metro Athletic Conference." And the conference is as advertised, at least as long as we understand that Denver Metro is what is meant by Metro. If the referenced metro area was, say, La Junta, we'd have an odd league comprised of La Junta, Las Animas, a few pronghorns, a few hundred tarnatulas and rattlenakes, thousands of Horned Larks, and a couple of feral cats. The actual East Metro is less interesting from a taxanomical perspective, but far simpler to schedule for athletic purposes. That, and rattlesnakes are known to be notoriously poor losers.

To nobody's great surprise, Thornton takes boys honors and Brighton the girls. Second places simply traded schools. Kaila Green and Sean Paiz take individual honors. If the times look fast to you, note the venue and reference the course ratings article.

Meet Results

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

Eric Wolff Invitational

Aside from the Joe Vigil Open early in the season, this one qualifies as the San Luis Valley's biggest meet. The meet is named after the Sargent coach who died much too young in the 1990s. Sargent came close, but never won a team title under Wolff's tutelage, but they did win more than their share of individual titles.

Wolff's memory was honored by Corey Lewenkamp and Emily Bryant, who took wins of a magnitude that Cruz Zarco would have been proud of. Alamosa (boys) and Pagosa (girls) won teams titles, and Pagosa probably figures as an underrated 3A team. It's easy to hide in the San Juan Basin.

Front Range League XC Championships

Judging by the amount of e-mail I've received this afternoon, the title of the article linked below is a little polarizing. Some find it humorous--as I hoped would be the case. Others find it misapplied. Monarch didn't have a league title from last year to defend. But, that wasn't supposed to be the point. The point is that Monarch is, well, Monarch. One person asked why I didn't save that headline for state. To be honest, I'm not at all sure Monarch will be deposed at state. If you backed me in a corner and demanded that I tell you who I think will win 5A girls in two weeks, I'd confess my best guess is Monarch. So, I don't expect the headline to be available in two weeks. Another person asked why bring Monarch up at all if they finished ninth and were not really contending for the league meet title. My only answer to that is that it's just as much news when the Monarch girls don't win as when they do win. That's just the way it is when you're that good. The theme of league meet week seems to be all the teams laying off, and Monarch is clearly part of that story.

In any case, you can find out much of the meet's detail in the article linked below. If the title of the article goes crosswise for you, just pass it by.

On-Site Coverage

Monarch deposed

Paul Miller, barely showing a hint of exhaustion, runs to the Front Range League boys title. Photo by Ken Regan.

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

Jefferson County League Championship

The rest of Colorado cross country is about to meet Lexi Reed. Ms. Reed has stayed mostly close to home in meets to date, but she's about to step out onto a larger stage. She figures to be among those leaning over to accept a medal following the 4A girls race. Reed, however, was not nearly enough to keep the league title from falling into Evergreen's hands.

Among 4A boys, it was a similar story. D'Evelyn's Carter Prescott takes individual honors, but Evergreen takes team laurels.

Pomona rolled up Dakota Ridge and Arvada West for the 5A boys title. Despite Alaina Anderson and Cami Kennedy taking the top two individual places, Pomona could not hold on for a matching girls title. That honor went to Ralston Valley, with Arvada West following in second.

Of special note here is the fact that Russ Hall is now running--with CHSAA approval--for Lakewood instead of Estes Park. Things are not nearly back to normal in Estes Park yet and this is a case where an accommodation needed to be made.

John Thornton Invitational

Montezuma-Cortez, Dolores, and Mancos headed west across the state line to run in Utah this week. Mostly, it didn't go so well for the Montezuma County schools, but M-C's Rachel Demby did snare the girls individual title.

Pikes Peak Athletic Conference XC Championship

Add Air Academy to the list of teams laying off this last week. That opened a door for the Palmer Ridge boys and Cheyenne Mountain girls to come home with league meet titles. Both teams may have won anyway, but it's a given that the absence of most of the AA regulars made it an easier feat to accomplish.

Eric Hamer and Tommy Herebic go 1-2 for the Palmer Ridge boys, while Greta Sloan and Madison Lambros would have done exactly the same for Cheyenne Mountain but for the presence of Alison Deitsch. All in all, a pretty good day for Palmer Ridge.

Rifle Cross Country Invitational

It's almost a league meet, but, technically, there are no league honors to be settled here.

The guys from Vail Ski and Snowboard (Ian Boucher and Cully Brown) finished their season with a 1-3. As the snow begins to fall, they can now concentrate on when they enrolled at VSSA in the first place. Battle Mountain ended up with the team title despite placing no runner higher than eighth. On the girls side, it was a little show of domination for a less-than-fully loaded Battle Mountain team. After Moffat County's Brenna Ciesco took first, the Huskies, led by Christina Shearon, went 3-6-9-11-12. Moffat County made it close, but simply couldn't match Battle Mountain at 4 and 5.

South-Central League Cross Country Meet

Pueblo West was one Charles Lucero and one Michael Duran away from perfect scoring the boys side of this meet. Which leads up to a trivia question--When was the last time a Pueblo school, any Pueblo school, won a cross country state title? It's definitely a possibility this year.

Jessica Kleven made it a pair of individual titles for the Colts, and this time South held on for the team title as well.

Wiggins Cross Country Invitational

Once again, Wiggins produces PRs by the bushel--which is appropriate when you consider that the competitors run right next to corn fields. They're still massaging the results, so the results we have for this meet aren't quite final yet, but we do know Ben Butler won with a sizzling sub-16, Kayla Young set a new course record at 18:42, and Denver North (boys) and Niwot (girls) ran away with the meet titles.

On-Site Coverage

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights