Allie Parks heads toward home en route to her second consecutive 4A girls state title. Photo by Jeff McCoy.
After Allie Parks crossed the finish line way in front of all pursuers (18:58 to 19:14 for second), the question didn't take long to turn to, "Who will win the team title?"
Early in the race, it looked as if a double crown just might head in the direction of Greeley Central. Janelle Martinez was close on the heels of her teammate and Mercedes Davila was holding up well at the next position for the Wildcats. When Martinez broke off the pace, however, Greeley Central's hopes took a southward turn from which they could not recover.
Niwot, after a scintillating regional performance, never really worked themselves into this contest.
That left Evergreen, Thompson Valley, Centaurus, Vista Ridge, and Cheyenne Mountain.
As the lead runners came across the finish, however, it quickly became apparent that Centaurus, Vista Ridge, and--surprisingly--Evergreen simply didn't have the necessary presence up front to come away with the title. Evergreen would eventually end up second will a strong showing at 4 and 5, but the game of catch-up they had to play was too great to overhaul the eventual winners.
Thompson Valley was hampered by too big of a gap between 1 and 2. Once #2 came across, though, the Eagles came across in quick succession--but too little, too late for a title.
It was Cheyenne Mountain that put all the pieces together for a state title. Senior Dani Grossman in fifth and freshman Greta Sloan in seventh gave the Indians the needed punch up front. Nell Crosby, Liz Stageberg (ran for Pueblo West last school year), and finally senior Kali Maxwell sealed the state title with a 3-4-5 that only Evergreen came close to matching. But, again, Evergreen had ceded too much at 1 and 2 to turn aside Cheyenne Mountain's bid. And so it was that Cheyenne Mountain blew open what looked all season long like it would be a tight team contest going right down the the arrival of the fifth runners.
The win is a first-ever girls state title for Cheyenne Mountain and the culmination of a long series of frustrations at the state meet for a team that has been a contender many times before.
Heirs to the crown that Parks has held for two years now seem to be lining up. The next three places--Sydney Scott of Denver South, Ali Deitsch of Palmer Ridge, and Allie Morgan of Discovery Canyon all come back for another shot next year.