Erin Hooker opened the first mile at just under 5:30 and never let up from there. Photo by Alan Versaw.
It was supposed to be the TCA Titan Thunder Invitational. But Erin Hooker stole the thunder.
Hooker set out on a blistering pace and then never let up. Her 17:58 time on the Fountain Creek Regional Park course wipes out Kaitlin Hanenburg's 18:05 course record.
To this point, Hooker's season has been solid, but quiet. It is quiet no longer.
TCA's Shelby Stableford clung to Hooker's early pace, but eventually paid for that gamble, dropping to third behind Sydney Harris of St. Mary's.
In the team tally, Fort Collins scored 1-4-8-9-10 for a total of 32. Eight Lambkins finished in under 20:00 (the race format allowed for nine varsity runners per team with seven being retained in the scoring).
The Classical Academy, which had five runners under 20:00, finished a distant second with 64 points. Rock Canyon was third with 115 points.
Discovery Canyon's Alexandra Morgan finished first among 4A contestants with a time of 18:54. Pueblo Centennial was the top-finishing team among 4A entries.
The team from Fort Collins was even more dominant on the boys' side. Behind an individual title from David Garcia in 15:41, Fort Collins scored 1-4-8-9-12 for a total of 34. Chaparral was next in the team standings with a 2-11-18-19-39 for 89 points. Pueblo South, a serious 4A contender, was third with 120.
Individually, David Garcia and Keagan Vargo hammered on each other for pretty much the entirety of the 5K course. Although they eventually dropped the company of all other contenders, they couldn't drop each other. Garcia edged Vargo by less than a second at the finish line, giving Garcia a 2-1 edge in the season standings between the two. Garcia also takes over the course record with his effort.
Josh Noriega and Griffin Hay would eventually fall off the pace sustained by David Garcia and Keagan Vargo. Photo by Alan Versaw.
TCA edged Alamosa 127-132 for the top 3A score in the meet. The two schools will meet again at the regional on the same course and then once again, presumably, at the state meet. Indications are that it should be both close and exciting at the end of the season. Josh Noriega of Salida had the top 3A individual finish at 15:58 in third.
4A individual honors went to Brandon Lange of Pueblo South in sixth at 16:13.