Bethany Michalak Shines Under The Lights At Peyton XC Invite

Bethany Michalak raged over the sand and grass in Peyton Friday night.

PEYTON -- Bethany Michalak drifted over the gradual hills like a gazelle speeding over grassy plains. Her bright yellow Saucony spikes churned in quick circular motions as she stalked an invisible prey in front of her: the clock. 

A light rain fell over the sandy course outside Peyton, Colo., but that didn't deter Michalak from raging over the course just like she had so many times before. 

In one perspective, it was the first real test of the season for the Air Academy freshman - she faced  two of the best runners in 5A - Arapahoe's Ava Mitchell and Ava Escorcia

And Michalak passed. 

She attacked the competition - and the course - from the opening strides underneath the stadium lights, and never looked back. 

But her second win of the season didn't come easy - the course, which was said to be "brutal" by several athletes, definitely provided an additional challenge for Michalak and everyone who endured it. 

"It was really hard," she said of the course. "It was super sandy, and hilly, and it was uneven. The wind was brutal, so was the rain."

Despite the competition, and the course, Michalak still ran off and away early for an 18:56 victory. The time was 20-seconds ahead of Mitchell, who finished second in 19:16. Escorcia gave Arapahoe a 2-3 finish by finishing third in 19:48, just ahead of Air Academy's Ella Chura, who crossed fourth in 19:51.

Hope Stark was the first runner not from Air Academy or Arapahoe to cross, finishing fifth in 20:19. 

Arapahoe took the team title convincingly, putting their entire top-five in the top-10. The defending 5A state champs tallied 28 points. Air Academy put up an impressive runner-up finish, tallying 45 points, while Palmer Ridge finished third with 72.


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