Colorado Girls Dominate As Niwot And Co. Head To Nationals

The US No. 3 Niwot girls didn't leave their booking to Portland for Team Cross Country Nationals to voting this time around - this time they kept their fate in their own hands. 

In 2018 and 2019 the squad had to nervously wait a week, wondering if their training was needed before earning an At-Large berth.

Not this time.

Niwot tallied 67-points to claim the girls Championship team title, thus earning an automatic qualifying spot to Nationals.

Leading the squad was freshman Addison Ritzenhein, who finished ninth in 17:40. Mia Prok and Anna Prok joined her inside the top-20, finishing 14th and 18th, in 17:54 and 18:03, while Olivia Alessandrini finished 21st in 18:09, and Madison Shults closed the door, finishing 24th in 18:14.

Behind Niwot, Air Academy and Mountain Vista also crashed the top-four, which enters both squads into an At-Large pool.

Finishing third was Air Academy, who tallied 173 points, while Mountain Vista was fourth in 189.

Colorado's dominance in the team race was duplicated in the individual race as well - Colorado nearly swept all five individual qualifying spots to Portland. 

Individually it was the 3A state champ - Liberty Common's Isabel Allori - who led Colorado with a runner-up finish in 16:58.21. 5A state champ Valor Christian's Brooke Wilson was just under a second back in third in 16:58.97. Air Academy's Bethany Michalak finished fourth in 17:02, which was just ahead of Pomona's Emma Stutzman, who finished fifth in 17:09.

In terms of auto-qualifiers, Colorado is sending one team (Niwot), and four individuals to Nationals.

Just on the outside of the individual qualifiers was Summit's Ella Hagen, who finished seventh in 17:28, and Valor's Keeghan Edwards, who finished eighth in 17:36.

Leading Colorado in the boys Championships Race was Mountain Vista, who finished fourth with 198 points. The finish enters them into an At-Large pool for Team Nationals.

Individually Mountain Vista's Tyler Downs booked his ticket to Portland by finishing sixth overall in 15:09.

Just on the other side of an automatic qualifier was Cheyenne Mountain's Kaden Levings who finished eighth overall in 15:17 - one-place outside an individual qualifying finish, and Valor Christian's Dane Eike, who finished 10th in 15:19.

Another great run from a Coloradan was Prospect Ridge Academy's Logan Goodman, who was the state's fourth finisher in 17th in 15:32.