(Allie McLaughlin, photo courtesy of Mark Weeks).
If nobody has ever before made a case for a "mercy rule" in cross country, Allie McLaughlin just made it.
Running against a solid field that boasted the likes of Camille Logan, Eleanor Fulton, Alicia Nelson, and a host of others, McLaughlin won by a margin that simply staggers the imagination--105 seconds. Putting that margin into perspective, it's a world-class 800 time, or roughly the time most of us run a quarter mile at recovery pace. Only nine boys in a varsity field of 194 runners beat McLaughlin's time over the same course.
Not a few left the course wondering if they could believe what their eyes had just seen. This was not a 17:45 on a road race passed off as a cross country meet; this was a 17:45 on one of the more challenging courses in the state.
Girls team honors at the Morris Vogel Invitational also went in the direction of Colorado Springs. Doherty, following up a third-place finish on Thursday at the Poudre SD Pre-State meet, took home the first-place trophy this time, led by top-10 finishes by Lynnea Sjoerdsma and Jordan Bloesser. Grandview placed a distant second.
On the boys' side, Joseph Manilafasha (at left, photo courtesy of Mark Weeks) picked up his first title of the season in convincing fashion, crafting a nifty 30-second victory of his own over Mullen's Andrew Berberick. Durango won the team title here, making it a perfect two-for-two for their season-opening trip over the mountains. And, should anyone imagine that Durango's win came against a weaker field, a quick check of the participating teams reads almost like a Who's Who among 5A cross country powers.