Top 10 XC: 4A Girls

Heather Bates and Sydney Scott might find themselves dueling at the front again in cross country. Photo by Alan Versaw.


Some notable names will gone from 4A girls cross country this fall, but there won't be any shortage of famililar names. As is the case with all girls' classifications, however, we're sure to see a freshman girl or two (or three or four) burst onto the scene and make an impact. In fact, we'll start you out with one such name right now--Aubrey Till. Till will be a freshman at Canon City HS in the fall. Check out age group results if you'd like an early read on Till.


On balance, however, this article is about returning talent. So, let's follow the usual procedure and look at what the results from the 2010-11 school year tell us. Beginning with last fall's state cross country results:

  2 Sydney Scott              JR Denver South               19:14.92     
  3 Ali Deitsch               FR Palmer Ridge               19:19.07     
  4 Allie Morgan              JR Discovery Canyon           19:23.97    
  6 Karina Ernst              JR Thompson Valley            19:36.57     
  7 Greta Sloan               FR Cheyenne Mountain          19:40.28     
  8 Amelia Evans              JR Air Academy                19:43.07
  9 Kellyn Roiko              JR Air Academy                19:44.77         
 10 Elise Cranny              FR Niwot                      19:46.57    
 14 Gabrielle Valenzuela      SO Conifer                    20:03.02    
 15 Emily Garnier             FR D'Evelyn                   20:10.67    
 17 McKayla Gray              JR Mountain View              20:13.12    
 19 Jesmain Mattie            JR Pueblo West                20:15.77    
 20 Sydney Gaylord            FR Battle Mountain            20:20.12    
 21 Sammy Skold               SO Evergreen                  20:20.37    
 22 Karli Foreman             JR Durango                    20:22.47    
 23 Halle Peterson            JR Centaurus                  20:23.07    
 25 Josie Warren              SO D'Evelyn                   20:25.97    
 26 Nell Crosby               FR Cheyenne Mountain          20:26.72    
 27 Dana Shellhorn            SO Montrose                   20:30.07    
 28 Maura O'Brien             JR Evergreen                  20:30.52    
 29 Erin Dobey                JR Evergreen                  20:31.87    
 31 Liz Stageberg             SO Cheyenne Mountain          20:35.47    


And then, the state 3200 rankings from track and field this spring:

1.     10:57.79     Heather Bates     CO Discovery Canyon High School     2013
2.     11:03.65     Sydney Scott     CO Denver South High School     2012
3.     11:21.98     Allie Morgan     CO Discovery Canyon High School     2012
4.     11:22.74     Karina Ernst     CO Thompson Valley High School     2012
5.     11:35.23     Amelia Evans     CO Air Academy High School     2012
6.     11:38.44     Elise Cranny     CO Niwot High School     2014     
7.     11:39.79     Mattie Jesmain     CO Pueblo West High School     2012
8.     11:40.76     Greta Sloan     CO Cheyenne Mountain High School     2014
9.     11:44.79     Jessica Kleven     CO Pueblo South High School     2014
10.     11:46.86     Kat Killingsworth     CO Green Mountain High School     2012
11.     11:48.81     Samantha Skold     CO Evergreen High School     2013
12.     11:52.54     Maura O'Brien     CO Evergreen High School     2012
13.     11:52.84     Mckayla Gray     CO Mountain View High School     2012
14.     11:57.56     Josie Warren     CO D`Evelyn High School     2013
15.     11:57.74     Lauren Anderson     CO Thompson Valley High School     2013
16.     11:57.80     Maddy Jalbert     CO Niwot High School     2013     04/23/2011
17.     12:02.19     Liz Stageberg     CO Cheyenne Mountain High School     2013
18.     12:07.33     Morgan Ulrich     CO Cheyenne Mountain High School     2013
19.     12:07.48     Meilyn Weege     CO Mullen High School     2012    


A few obvious disparities exist and will require some explanation. Heather Bates ran for 5A Pine Creek last fall and was a DNF at the state meet. But, after a change of schools, she came back to win the 4A 3200 title for Discovery Canyon. Ali Deitsch had a stellar freshman cross country season for Palmer Ridge in the fall, but was not a participant in track this spring. In fact, I've not been able to pull her name out of the records of any sport. So, there's some mystery about her status coming into cross country this fall. Kellyn Roiko had a standout season for Air Academy in the fall, but struggled in the spring. By the end of the spring, her 800 and 1600 times seemed to be coming back around, but she never ran a 3200 this spring.


As a general observation, it's a bit more common for girls to be standout cross country runners and compete at shorter distances in track than it is for boys. So, while looking at 3200 times is still useful with girls, it doesn't tell you as much of the story as it does with boys.


That should take care of the disconnects, so now let's take a guess at a top 10 for the fall. But, we'll take the safe route and declare a tie at #1.


1. Heather Bates - Bates won the 4A 3200 title this spring with what was easily her best time of the season at the state meet. The wheels that came off at the end of the 2010 cross country season seem to be back on, making her a strong contender for a state cross country title this fall.


1. Sydney Scott - Like Bates, Scott ran her best 3200 of the spring at the state meet. Unlike Bates, however, Scott's 3200 times over the course of the season were fairly even. Scott also finished second at state cross country in the fall and very nearly qualified as an individual for NXN. This is one that's just too close to call.


3. Karina Ernst - It's tight at #1, but it's also tight right behind #1. Ernst, like some Thompson Valley runners of years gone by, seems to do best at 1600 meters, but a cross country 5K is not at all out of her range. Ernst only infrequently runs the 3200 in track, so it's tough to get a read on her fitness for races at longer distances from track and field.


4. Allie Morgan - I pegged this one at #4, but could just as easily have declared a tie at #3. Morgan has been consistent and solid in both cross country and track throughout her high school career. And, in case you hadn't noticed, Discovery Canyon possesses a pretty formidable 1-2 punch heading into the fall.


5. Amelia Evans - The Air Academy senior-to-be came into her own in a big way last school year. It will probably help Evans's training if Roiko returns to full strength, but Evans is very capable of being a top contender on her own.


6. Elise Cranny - Like Scott, Cranny nearly qualified for NXN as an individual. Maybe flatter courses appeal to Cranny more than the rolling terrain of state? In any case, Cranny had a breakout freshman season and comes back the haunt the leaders of the pack as a sophomore this fall.


7. Ali Deitsch - It's hard to know where to place someone who didn't run a single race in track and field (at least not a single rankings race) in the spring. Last fall counts for something, however, and so Deitsch is still on the radar screen, but with question marks attached.


8. Greta Sloan - Despite a great freshman cross country campaign, it seems that Sloan's greatest strengths lie at shorter distances. Still, she is a very capable cross country runner. Ignoring her in your cross country calculations would be foolish indeed.


9. Mattie Jesmain - It's difficult to ignore the progress this senior-to-be made in track and field this spring. Figure she moves up several places from her 19th-place finish at state cross country last fall.


10. Nell Crosby, Liz Stageberg, Jessica Kleven, Kat Killingsworth, Samantha Skold, Mckayla Gray - I know it's weak to let indecision rule at the last spot, but, really, take your pick here! Ignore a highly-motivated Cheyenne Mountain team at your peril. Killingsworth had a nice track season. Skold has been solid for a long time and has been the most consistent of the Evergreen pack the last couple of years. Gray is always around somewhere near the top. Kleven came along nicely in the spring and, if she can survive the heat of training around Pueblo South, she just might surprise a few folks this fall.