History Made At The Colorado State Meet, 2021

Hollister Beddingfield heads toward the finish line, helping Salida to finish with the best-ever second-place point total in state history.

Just about any time people gather together for a big event like state cross country, history is made. It's just that usually someone has to crawl under the hood a little to find out exactly what history has been made. I'll try to do that for you here. I may not extract all the notes of historical interest, but I'll do my best to glean a good number of them. 

So, kick your feet up and let's get after it!

Lake County - One of the great feel-good stories of this year's state meet is that Lake County won the 2A girls state title. That's the first girls state title for the school since 1992 and the first cross country state title since 1996. Amy Peters becomes the fourth coach at Lake County to win a state title, following in the steps of Dick Anderson, Frank Mencin, and Gary Hanks. Gary Hanks was still coaching when I started coaching in 2000 and continued to do so for a few more years, so I'm guessing Amy Peters has been at the helm for well in excess of 10 years now. She began with a program that was very definitely at low tide and has patiently built it back to a very competitive team. Several years of hard work just paid off in a big way! Lake County started knocking on the door in a serious way last year when they finished second to down-valley rival Buena Vista. As an aside, Lake County leads the state in total cross country titles. CHSAA took down the easy way to check how many from their website, but I believe the cumulative total is now 29 state titles, breaking down as 19 boys titles and 10 girls titles. Feel welcome to correct me on that if you have better information. 

Low Winning Team Scores - Quick like a flash, when was the last time a team won a Colorado state title with more than 100 points? While you think about that, let me introduce you to Niwot, which won this year's girls team title with 20 points. I don't have team scores from every year of Colorado state cross country, but I'm pretty sure those 20 teams points are a record for any score-five race. As best as I can tell, Cheyenne Mountain's 26 boys points this year checks in as the second-best score-five total in state history. 4A was wild this year! Now back to the question I used to open this paragraph.... The last team to win a state title in Colorado with more than 100 team points was the 2015 Broomfield girls--who won with 112 points. In earlier days of cross country here in Colorado, and in classifications that have scored five team members, it was more the norm than not for winning teams to accumulate more than 100 points. It is very much not the norm any longer. 

Low Second-Place Team Scores - Several of the second-place team scores from this year looked a lot more like winning scores than runner-up scores. Cherry Creek's girls had 60 points to take second in 5A. Valor Christian's boys had 61 points to take second in 5A. Niwot's boys had 63 points to take second in 4A. But, the winner of all the runners-up was Salida, which evidently set a new record for fewest runner-up points (score-5) in state history with 48. The lowest possible second-place score is 28, and that takes an absolute perfect storm of placements by both the first and second-place teams. 48 is definitely still within the realm of special. It's probably not the kind of record you purposely set out to break at the state meet, but it's an amazing record even so. The previous state record for a runner-up, at least as best as I can tell, was the Peak to Peak girls in 2015. That year, they had 56 points to finish second in 3A. Coincidentally, Salida was part of that story as well as they won that year with 50 points. To be fair, I only have complete state meet results dating back as far as 1977, plus additional results from 1967-69. At first glance, it would appear that the Cheyenne Mountain boys had lower team scores when they finished second in 4A in 1992 (42 points) and 1993 (43 points), but I did the math and, even with only nine and ten teams in the fields those years, they had to have been scoring only four runners.

Streaks - Several teams are working on state title streaks right now. 5A Girls has been bouncing back and forth of late, so there is no streak there. Mountain Vista's boys, having terminated the Dakota Ridge string in 2020 have now won two years in a row. Cheyenne Mountain just busted up a Niwot streak in 4A Boys, so there is no streak there at the moment. Niwot's girls, on the other hand, just extended their state title streak to four, with no apparent end in sight. In 3A, The Classical Academy snapped Frontier Academy's streak in boys and extended their own streak in 3A Girls to four in a row. Heritage Christian Academy has won the last two 2A Boys titles. Individually, Riley Stewart goes out with three consecutive 5A Girls titles. Zane Bergen won two straight 4A Boys crowns. Katelyn Maley is at two consecutive 3A Girls crowns--with Basalt owning the last three--and counting. On the opposite end of the streak spectrum, it appears that Eva Klingbeil's 4A Girls state title is not only her first individual state title but also the first time she has finished first in a cross country race.

And a trivia question to close with... Who is the only Colorado boy to ever have won four consecutive state titles?