2016 Colorado State XC 5A Girls: Broomfield Beats Mountain Vista on Patience

Ivy Gonzales powers her way home on what would prove to be the first step toward a second-consecutive Broomfield girls team title. Photo by Alan Versaw.

It's a dangerous thing to write an article on a state meet race you saw no more of than I saw of the 5A Girls race, but there is a story waiting to be told in the intermediate results nevertheless.

For weeks, we've been building up to the anticipation of Mountain Vista vs. Broomfield, green vs. blue, Dalby vs. Weich, Mountain Vista's freshmen vs. Broomfield's experience. On Saturday, it all came to fruition. And, nothing about the showdown failed to live up to expectations.

While Brie Oakley and Lauren Gregory were still battling it out at the mile (and already 30 seconds ahead of the field!), a more complex battle was working itself out between Mountain Vista and Broomfield. The trail pack behind Oakley and Gregory was predominantly green and blue, with Ivy Gonzales and Madison Mooney of Broomfield trading strides with Jenna Fitzsimmons, Sarah O'Sullivan, and Caroline Eck of Mountain Vista at the front of that pack. 

Not much advantage to be found there.

But, deeper in the scoring roster of both teams, there was an advantage to be found. Just a few meters off the lead trail pack lurked Madison Reed and Zoe Simmons of Mountain Vista, running in the company of Broomfield's Katelyn Mitchem.

A bit further back were Laura Thompson and Emily Mitchem of Broomfield, effectively covered by Mountain Vista's Julia Chambers and Madison Easton.

So, though the margin was small, it was definitely advantage Mountain Vista at one mile into the race. Team scoring had Mountain Vista up 53-67 at the mile.

By two miles, and as you might have expected, things were definitely a bit more strung out. And, once again, it was well after Oakley and Gregory had gone by (this time with Oakley sporting an enormous lead), that the battle of the team titans made its appearance.

At two miles, Broomfield's patience early had paid off in the form of Ivy Gonzales and Madison Mooney having separated themselves from Fitzsimmons, Eck, and O'Sullivan. But, you could still argue that Mountain Vista's threein the top eight of the race told a more hopeful story Broomfield's two. 

These five had, by now, distanced themselves from the rest of their teammates by a gap of close to 20 seconds or more. But, the next group had a decidedly bluish hue. Thompson and Katelyn Mitchem sandwiched Simmons. Emily Mitchem and Vanessa Kort had a couple seconds up on Chambers and Madison Reed.

Though the tide was clearly shifting, the team scoring at two miles had Mountain Vista and Broomfield deadlocked at 58. It would all come down to a surge up The Boulevard, a dash down through the woods, a splash in the creek, two short hills, and the final push into the stadium. 

And the advantage there, though small, would fall in Broomfield's favor. Gonzales and Madison held their positions and entered the stadium as third and fourth. For a moment, it looked as if it could become a Broomfield rout. But, Fitzsimmons entered the stadium on the fly and nearly caught Mooney before the finish line. Nearly, but not quite.

Eck followed, three places behind Fitzsimmons. Then a short lull. Then O'Sullivan. The Mountain Vista parent faithful and the green-shirted ranks who weren't in uniform for the state meet dared to hope, straining eagerly to see who would be next into the stadium.

Another 10 seconds went by, then appearances by Thompson and Katelyn Mitchem raised anew the flag of Broomfield's dreams, only to evoke a response by Simmons.

More seconds passed by. Then Emily Mitchem and Kort entered the stadium with no answer from Mountain Vista. One member of Vista Nation spoke aloud what everyone in hot green t-shirts was gradually coming to realize, "I don't think we won."

And hopeful anticipation built among the Broomfield hopeful gathered in the stadium. It would take a while for official word to come, but the Eagles had successfully outdistanced the Golden Eagles in the scoring, 55 to 62. In the final mile, Broomfield had bettered their score by three, while Mountain Vista had bled four over the same span.

And so, Broomfield prevailed in a second-consecutive tight battle to the finish in 5A Girls.

Broomfield coach Greg Weich aptly echoed after the race a comment Mountain Vista coach Jonathan Dalby had shared with him earlier, "Whatever happens, you're going to pull the best out of us, and we're going to pull the best out of you." Indeed, they did.

Meanwhile, though it took two to three minutes less to wrap up and tie a bow on it than the back-and-forth in the Broomfield and Mountain Vista team scoring, Brie Oakley pulled the best out of herself. 

On a dreadfully warm day for racing in late October, Oakley found first the will to bury Lauren Gregory's bid for the fourth consecutive state title, and then tacked on the will to finish in a staggering time of 17:07. That kind of performance over wretched hill and dusty dale simply defies comprehension.

It would be another 85 seconds before Lauren Gregory would put in her appearance. 

And it would seem that Colorado has much to look forward to in the post season competition for 2016 high school cross country.

Greg Weich Interview

Madison Mooney and Ivy Gonzales Interview

Brie Oakley Interview

Lauren Gregory Interview