Things got off to a bit of a disappointing start at the St. Vrain Invitational as word spread that Andrew Roberts was training through this week and wouldn't be racing this morning. It didn't take long, however, for the disappointment to slip away.
Before the morning's races had completed, both course records on this true cross country course had fallen, and some wildly impressive performances had been turned in by the runners from Colorado Academy, Boulder, and The Classical Academy.
The girls started at 9 AM with TCA's Kaitlin Hanenburg and Shelby Stableford going immediately to the front of the 4A/5A race, followed closely by Boulder's Sam Lewis. That order up front reamined pretty much uninterrupted throughout the entire race. Stableford challenged Hanenburg and Lewis challenged Stableford but no successful passes were made. Hanenburg (at left) finally managed to open a moderate lead over the last 400 meters, winning in 18:29, but Stableford and Lewis did not falter, finishing in 18:41 and 18:45, respectively. Hanenburg's time bettered her course record from last year by 12 seconds (last year's results).
The team race was quickly determined as TCA runners Emily LaValley, Kassie Mazzocco, and Emily Husted finished sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively, each finishing the course in under 20:00. Boulder would finish second with a remarkable 3-4-11-16-17 tally of their own.
Among the 2A/3A girls, who ran the course at the same time but were scored separately, Peak to Peak, last year's state runner-up, showed they will be a force to be reckoned with once again. Led by Jhenya Nahreini's third-place finish in 19:38, the Pumas tallied 39 points to edge second-place Holy Family by nine points. Lyons's own Melissa Roberts won the individual title for the small schools in 19:25.
The excitement of the girls' race had scarcely abated when the boys took the course and generated an excitement of their own. Andrew Roberts was not present nor were Niwot's top runners, but the pace was torrid up front nevertheless. Sam Feldotto of The Classical Academy went through the mile at 5:04, clinging to a narrow lead over a trail pack of five or six runners. Feldotto would not be challenged until the last 200 meters when Ashi Guiles of Boulder made a serious push at taking over the lead. Feldotto's response was adequate to hold off the charge, however, and he finished in 16:16, breaking Andrew Roberts's course record of 16:18 set last fall.
This time, however, Boulder would be triumphant in the team race, posting 39 points in the team standings to come in easily ahead of TCA's 70 in the 4A/5A division. Colorado Academy won the 2A/3A division rather handily in the absence of Andrew Roberts, scoring 2-5-7-8. A little quick arithmetic suggests they would have won it even with Andrew Roberts running. All four of the scoring Colorado Academy runners finished at 17:40 or better, led by Melake Getabecha's 17:02 (at left). Andrew Bowen of Brush took home the individual honors for the small-school contestants, finishing in 16:31.