Addison Ritzenhein took crisp, business-like strides.
With a mile to go in the girls 4A/5A race on Saturday at the St. Vrain Invitational in Lyons, Colo., she had company -- Niwot teammate Olivia Alessandrini and Mountain Vista's Peyton Adams trailed just a few steps behind her.
But Ritzenhein's focus was in front of her.
Not only was she racing the competition, she was racing the clock.
On the topic of the clock, let's go back in time...
In 2011 Adele's "Rolling in the deep" was topping the charts. Harry Potter finally defeated Voldemort. And the movie Bridesmaids gifted the world with dozens upon dozens of laughable and at times cringe-worthy quotes.
Another thing that happened in 2011 was Boulder's Kelsey Lakowske running the (previous) St. Vrain course record of 17:51.
Ritzenhein was barely three years-old.
Back to Saturday morning in Lyons...
Ritzenhein went on to torch the competition, and that final mile, putting in a substantial gap between her and her chasers.
The Niwot sophomore stormed off and away and enjoyed the final stretch across the infield of the track to a 17:36 course record - a 30-second victory.
"I didn't really know what to expect going into it," Ritzenhein admitted.
The race marked Ritzenhein's second of the season, as well as her second victory.
"I was planning on sitting back and waiting for the second or third lap," she said. "I know it sounds crazy, but I like the up-hills."
For those who haven't raced the St. Vrain course, the hills have a make-or-break sort of vibe.
The Niwot sophomore's patient approach clearly paid off -- with a victory, and a course record.
To add more context to this performance, consider that prior to Saturday morning only four girls had broken 18-minutes on the course, and that Ritzenhein ran 18:46 here last year (before going on to finish second at the 4A Colorado State Cross Country Championships, running 17:56, and 18th at Nike Cross Nationals).
In other words: she's 70 seconds ahead of where she was at this time last year.
When asked how she'd celebrate the victory, Ritzenhein was quick to reply: "Back to work."
Alessandrini gave Niwot the 1-2 finish, taking the runner-up in 18:06. Mountain Vista's Adams finished third in 18:13 to prevent a Niwot 1-2-3 - Mia Prok was seven-seconds behind her in 18:20, which was just ahead of Mountain Vista's Juliet Frum, who finished in 18:22.
Niwot took the team title with a dominating 23-points, while Mountain Vista was second with 40-points.
Next Page: Benji Anderson Remains Undefeated