Pine Creek's strong early standing in the 5A Region 5 girls race would be scattered before the end of the race as Hannah McIntyre (in white, at left) would go on for the win. Photo by Mark Weeks.
If you were hoping for a major upset in 5A Region 5, those hopes were cruelly dashed. And perhaps all the more cruelly in that neither Pine Creek nor Mountain Vista ran a great race. On a day when both of the region's giants looked a little vulnerable they were still dominant enough to take care of business with room to spare.
Individually, the 5A-5 boys race quickly became a Connor Weaver-Zachary Alhamra duel. And in the final mile, it was Alhamra's tank that was still burning high-grade, giving him a 15:44 to 15:52 edge over Weaver. In third was Rampart's Ben Dingman running his second-consecutive sub-16 in 15:59.
It was, however, only a matter of time until the wave of green came crashing onto the shore. It started with Paxton Smith in 10th, and it crested with Tyler Matzke, Andrew Walton, and Blake Graf in 13-14-15. At that point, nobody else had more than two runners in. And so the Golden Eagles sealed yet another title. Winning ugly--by MV standards--as still winning.
Chaparral edged cross-district rival Rock Canyon for third, giving the Douglas County schools a clean sweep of the top three slots. Rampart and Pine Creek claimed the top remaining spots for Academy District 20.
Pine Creek's girls looked just as sluggish as the Mountain Vista boys, but was equally effective in winning the regional title.
Kaleigh Kroeker did battle with Palmer's Hannah McIntyre for the regional crown, but along the long stretch of the Monument Valley Park spine trail heading south toward the finish, it was McIntyre who pulled away and sealed the deal at 18:33. Nipping at Kroeker's heels was Phoebe Schneider of Rock Canyon.
An unusual degree of separation between the Sered sisters ensued. Gabrielle nailed down fourth place, but Katherine wasn't seen until tenth. Devon Kroeker and Natalie Kalin finished the scoring in 15th and 16th respectively.
A very strong showing by Rock Canyon left the possibility of a major upset open until well into the race. The Jaguars would finish with 69 points to Pine Creek's 47. Mountain Vista and Castle View came next in order. Rampart then edged Doherty for the final state-qualifying position.
Jonathan Dalby and Max Oliver are both coaches who've been around the block a few times before. Flat spots at regionals are fixable affairs (provided you actually make it to state--which Mountain Vista and Pine Creek did). It's probably not a great idea to expect the issues their teams faced at regionals to be reprised at state.