Bethany Michalak Shines Under The Lights At Peyton XC Invite

Colby Schultz's long hair swayed with each stride and with the raging wind that swirled around the sloping hills outside Peyton. 

With less than a mile to go the Palmer Ridge junior was running off, untethered to anyone. With each stride he was inching closer to the finish line, to his first cross country victory. 

But he was being tracked by Cheyenne Mountain's Knox Exton

Schultz's lead heading into the final mile was just a few seconds, though the question remained: could Exton close the gap before the finish line arrived?

In other words: would he run out of real estate in this chase?


To both questions. 

Because Schultz would not be denied on this day. He would run off to capture his first victory on perhaps one of the toughest courses in the state, running an impressive 17:09. 

Exton was rewarded for his efforts, however, as the Cheyenne Mountain junior kicked hard and late to finish second just three seconds back in 17:12. 

Add that Exton's runner-up finish was his second-fastest 5k in Colorado, only behind his 16:29 from the roads and speed of Liberty Bell last year.  

On a course that nearly was unanimously considered "brutal" or "hard" or "beastly," that's quite an impressive feat. 

You could say that Exton has made The Jump. 

The race for third came down a raging kick between Air Academy's Alex Maline, and Cheyenne Mountain's Enzo Knapp. Maline had the victory here, running 17:27, just ahead of Knapp's 17:28. 

Five finishers across the line and it appeared that Cheyenne Mountain might just run away with the team title, as Cedar Collins crossed in fifth, running 17:43. 

But Palmer Ridge quickly responded with Lucas Bossinger and Nate Lee, finishing sixth and seventh. 

Palmer Ridge would go on to put their top-five into the top-12. They tallied 37 points, while Cheyenne Mountain finished second just 13 points back with 50. Air Academy finished third with 67.