Copious amounts of watering on the fields (some of which ran off the fields and onto the trail) left Pat Amato's normally very fast track a bit spongy. But don't tell Riley Stewart that. The newly-minted Stanford commit celebrated her commitment with her first-ever sub-17 5K on Colorado soil. Stewart stopped the clock at 16:56.28.
No, nobody is trying to pull your leg with that time. If back-to-back cover photos doesn't feel quite right to you, consider how many girls in Colorado have run sub-17 under any conditions.
And that was that. Or maybe not so much so.
There was still a team score to settle between Cherry Creek and Arapahoe (Mountain Vista and Valor--perhaps getting early warning at an attempt at overwatering the park in the works--sat their varsities for this race).
Emily Lamontagne answered Stewart's first with a second. Then Creek's Shelby Balding crossed in fifth. Ava Mitchell of Arapahoe answered in seventh. Paisley Piepgras and Claire Semerod nearly sealed the deal for Cherry Creek in places 12 and 15. Then Addison Laughlin sealed the deal in 19th.
The final team tally had Cherry Creek with 39 and Arapahoe with 59, but the gap was scarcely that large. A lot of places crossed in a very short time. The top 16 runners all finished in under 19 minutes. Even for a loaded meet, that's a lot of sub-19s. Unless, of course, you were thinking of Liberty Bell.
McKenna Mazeski had the unusual distinction of running 17:51 and finishing third. It's a tough crowd she runs with.
A half an hour earlier, the boys had done their thing. The early lead went to Dominykas Remeikis of Summit. For a long time, it looked as if Remeikis just might do in the competition. But, behind Remeikis was a salty group of outtastaters--Keith Bridge and Ryan Aldaz of Los Alamos and Simeon Birnbaum of Rapid City Stevens.
Places traded like hot stocks over the final half of the race. In the end, Keith Bridge--who had done the best job of the entire group of biding his time--took the win in 15:53. Remeikis finished second in 16:03, just nipping Birnbaum at the finish line.
The 39 team points for Los Alamos (outtastaters one and all save for a coach who grew up close to the Pat Amato meet location) left everyone in the dust. And, yes, there was dust on the north end of the course where there are no soccer fields or baseball diamonds.
The Classical Academy finished second with 104 points, despite a rough outing for their normal team leader of Matthew Edwards. Chandler Wilburn picked up much of the slack with a 7th-place finish. Teammates Casey Golden and Will Moore added top-18 finishes, but Los Alamosa was already long out of sight.
From this week, it's a mostly down week ahead. What few meets are on the calendar for next week are mostly league meets and JV meets. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of teams easing back on the throttle for league meets with regionals and state looming on the horizon. For this one day, however, we were witness to some solid racing, with some clear signals of some stirring contests waiting on the horizon.