2016 Colorado State XC 4A Boys: Palmer Ridge Slams the Door

The white of Palmer Ridge was in evidence early, but not as a flag of surrender. Photo by Jeff McCoy.

Palmer Ridge did not merely close the door on the opposition. They slammed it.

Honestly, as good as Silver Creek has been this year, there was no point outside the first 200 meters in Saturday's 4A Boys race in which Silver Creek was in the hunt with Palmer Ridge.

The white-clad Bears went to the front, bought property, and settled there. They probably trampled on a few established property rights while they were there, just for good measure.

Not only did the Bears go to the front early, but they tightened their grip on the front of the field as the race developed. Intermediate team scoring has Palmer Ridge with 65 points at one mile, and 55 points at both two miles and the finish. That 55 points might have been more likely to drop between two miles and the finish if there'd been many people left to pass--but there weren't, and none of those that were left fell under the heading of "easy pickings."

Jeremy Meadows crossed the finish line in 16:16. That finish would start the Palmer Ridge scoring with five points. Three seconds later, Drew Lester drew second blood. A mere 28 seconds after Meadows crossed, Brandon Hippe closed out the Palmer Ridge scoring, adding a mere 17 points to the team total. 

Cross country needs an expression that conveys what tennis folks mean when they say, "Game, set, and match."

Silver Creek would eventually fall out of contention for second. Doing the second-place dance at the finish line was a very good Widefield team who had 110 points on the day. Air Academy wedged into third before Silver Creek was able to close out their scoring in fourth.

None of that, however, erases a brilliant season on the part of Roger Pauley's Raptors. It is merely the case that they ended up with the least desirable meet of the season to take a tumble.

Individually, you might be forgiven for thinking you were watching a rematch of the 4A Boys race from the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede a little over two months ago.

When the race had settled down to the last remaining contenders, the list of names had a familiar ring to it--Ian Meek, Ethan Powell, and Max Martinez. 

Only this time, unlike the CM Stampede, Ian Meek led the parade (just barely) across the creek, up the two short steps, and into the stadium. The race, however, was not quite over. Martinez had lost contact with Meek at this point, but Powell stayed in the fight. Summoning his courage and energy for one final surge, Powell blew past Meek just before the finish line to take the win in 15:55.7.

Montrose's Evan Graff finished fourth and would be the last individual in before the wave of Bears washed onto the shore of the finish line.

It was, in all respects, a fitting finish for a 4A season that has been as competitive as any within the reach of memory.

Ethan Powell Interview

Ian Meek Interview

Maximilliano Martinez Interview

Larry Rudnicki Interview

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