Northfield's Riley Buese ran away with the girl's title.
As summer turns to fall, there's something refreshing in the crisp mountain air at 7,500 feet, it's sublime, spiritual even.
This past Saturday, in Estes Park at the Longs Peak XC Invitational, the cool morning, lite breeze, and foliage invading the course from all sides - resplendent, kaleidoscopic, blushing of orange, red, and yellow - welcomed runners and spectators from all over the Front Range.
Teams donned jackets, sweatpants, and beanies while warming-up on the lush greens of the Lake Estes 9-Hole Golf Course. Bull elk were heard in the distance bulging on this early September morning, the height of elk breeding season, AKA "the Rut". Runners were ready to tackle this flat, soft true cross country course.
First up was the girl's race.
The Northfield girls came out swinging taking six of the top seven individual spots. Leading the charge was sophomore Riley Buese, blazing a 20:23 (just a mere 20 seconds off the course record). Charlotte Raymond took the runner-up spot in 21:03, breaking up what would've been a Northfield sweep.
Northfield took the next five spots, with Addie Horton, Malia Heien, Gabriela Kobak, Ella Vollmer, and Jayla Sanderson finishing 3-4-5-6-7.
The Blue & Yellow singlets were aplenty up front and Northfield finished with 19 points to take the team title.
Next on tap was the boy's race.
Senior Andre Stablein of Front Range Christian, fresh off his win just down Highway 36 in Lyons last week, dominated the field by over one minute and set a new Longs Peak course record of 16:51.
Northfield's Ian Kleinschmidt was next in line in 17:57 while Hudson Majeski (fresh off his runner-up finish behind Stablein at St. Vrain last week) finished in third in a time of 18:03.
Estes Park took the next two spots with Hayden Filsinger and Lucas Russell going 3-4 in 18:21 and 18:24, while Northfield's Nathan Krasner placed sixth in 18:33.
The team title went to the hometown boys of Estes Park racking up 43 points and finishing just 12 points ahead of their fellow Patriot League team, Liberty Common.