On the boys side, Ben Conlin came into the race as a substantial favorite. We could say "huge" favorite, but Conlin isn't a huge guy. Regardless, he lived up to every syllable of his pre-meet billing.
On the girls side, it figured to come down between TCA sophomore Sawyer Wilson and Loveland freshman Elena Torres. It had all the trappings of a stellar mid-season matchup. This one took a little longer to resolve.
While Ben Conlin led wire-to-wire, the girls race was leadership by committee for a little better than a mile. That committee consisted of Cadence Lapp, who seemed to be designated pace setter among the group, Wilson, Torres, plus Olivia Krueger and Jaycee Williams of Berthoud.
Between one and two miles, however, the party broke up. Wilson kept applying pressure, sending Krueger, Williams, and Lapp off the back end of the lead pack. Eventually, Wilson broke Torres's resistance as well and cruised to a rather substantial 25-second margin of victory.
That didn't quite equal Conlin's margin of 50 seconds, but it was comfortable even so. Nobody left with any doubts about who the top runners in the fields were.
Behind the leaders, then, the team races sorted themselves out.
Rampart got a big leg up on the field on the boys race when Noah Gandley crossed in second. TCA, however, sent three of the next four across in Chandler Wilburn, Nathaniel Brim, and Matthew Edwards. Only Jefferson Academy's Jacob Crookston was able to break up that party.
The girls race, compounded as it was by a few unexpected absences on top teams, took well into the evening to resolve. Nobody at the meet itself felt inclined to call the winner, so--in the absence of a timing company--the lists of times and bib numbers went home with the meet director to reach a resolution.
Those who suspected it was close had very good basis for their suspicions. Officially, TCA eked out a 33-35 advantage over Loveland. Flip the order of the top two finishers in the race, however, and you have a tie that would have gone to Loveland on the tie-breaker.
Once again, Thompson Valley had the third. In addition to Wilson, TCA got top-ten finishes from Cassidy McDonald, Sophia Valentine, and Kyra Shaner. Freshman Alaina Bonacquista brought home the win for the Titans in sixteenth with a PR of 21:13.
The PR is worth mentioning in that fast times were hard to come by. The El Pomar Youth Sports Center course (largely the old Vineyards state course from 15 or so years ago) is still yielding its secrets, so caution needs to attend any explanations of why times were what they were. Nevertheless, it appears to be a course that could see a lot of use in years to come.
Emma Deason joined Torres and Lapp in the top seven to help Loveland keep the team scoring close.