Cruz Culpepper beat a stacked field to claim the course record.
No. It wasn't a region championship, or State, or Footlocker, or NXN. It was the Vista Nation XC 2-Mile Invitational, and some of the best distance runners across the state came out and put on a show.
In the individual race we saw that Cruz Culpepper will be a force this season. The Niwot junior ran away with the win and the course's first sub-10, clocking a 9:58. Culpepper not only took down Carter Dillon's 10:02 course record, but he dismantled a star-studded field.
Behind him the state's No. 1 and No. 2 returners in 5A, Dakota Ridge's Austin Vancil and Connor Ohlson went 2-3, both running 10:04. Ares Reading finished fourth in 10:12, giving Niwot a solid 1-2 punch.
And it wasn't just individuals who clashed...
There was 5A No. 1 Mountain Vista vs 4A No. 1 Niwot vs 5A No. 2 Dakota Ridge vs 4A No. 2 Palmer Ridge.
In other words, the top two teams in 5A, and the top two teams in 4A, met for a two-mile battle to open the season.
How did it all shake out? Well, it sort of went to script...
Mountain Vista took a tight win over Niwot. Tight, as in four points. 64-68 in fact. That's 5A No. 1 edging out 4A No. 1.
Vista Nation didn't have any big time front-runners, but their 1-5 spread was just 16 seconds, and their entire top seven were in the top 20.
Behind them it was just as close. Palmer Ridge was third with 83 points, one point ahead of Dakota Ridge.
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