In this week's edition of Colorado Future Stars we'll be taking a look at recent stand-out freshmen performances.
Colorado, meet Addison Ritzenhein!
If you recognize that last name, you should. You really should. But we'll come back to that...
Ritzenhein recently finished fourth at the St. Vrain Invitational, running a personal best of 18:42.40 - that's over a minute faster than she ran at the RE-1J District Meet. To add some additional context t her St. Vrain performance, it's the fourth-fastest by a freshmen on the course ever.
She opened her high school career with a third-place finish in the freshmen/sophomore race at the Vista Nation XC 2-Mile Invitational, where she ran 11:59.
As an eighth-grader she ran PRs of 2:36 in the 800, and 5:50 in the 1,600. If you're doing the math in your head right now, her recent 18:42 5k is roughly 6:01 pace. So, she nearly PRd in the 1,600 en-route to her 5k.
Clearly, she's on the rise.
Now to circle back to the third line in this story...
Addison's father is Dathan Ritzenhein - AKA "Ritz." He's an Olympian, and former American Record holder in the 5,000.
Dawit James - Strasburg - If you haven't heard of James yet, you'll want to remember this name. He recently finished second at the St. Vrain Cross Country Invitational in 17:01. What made this performance all the more impressive is how he ran - from the front. His 16:45 currently ranks him No. 12 in 2A. He is currently the fastest freshman in 2A. As an eighth-grader he ran 5:23 in the 1,600 - clearly he's made massive jump over the summer...
Rocco Culpepper - Niwot - You should definitely recognize this last name if you're a distance runner. Between his parents Shayne Culpepper and Alan Culpepper, and his older brother, multi-state champ Cruz Culpepper, running is clearly in the blood. Culpepper recently finished 10th in the 4A/5A race at the St. Vrain Cross Country Invitational, running 16:05 - that's a 1:07 PR. For historical comparison, his brother's fastest time on this course was 15:56.
Emily Cohen - Cherry Creek - She recently won the Roadrunners Invite in 17:40. Several weeks ago she ran 17:26 at the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational. In May she dropped a eye-popping 38:52 at the Bolder Boulder 10k.
Jordan Banta - Air Academy - She recently ran a massive personal best of 17:30 at the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational. A year ago she finished second at the Colorado Middle School State Cross Country Championship.