Cole Sprout was part of a long list of runners making auspicious debuts on the Colorado high school scene last weekend. Photo by Alan Versaw.
This does not propose to be an exhaustive cataloging of all the exciting new cross country faces around the state, but if you're like me and trying to keep up with all the new names and faces in Colorado high school cross country this fall, at least it's a start. All but one of these are freshmen. Going alphabetically (and you can link to athlete profiles to the right by hovering over the more... part of Tagged Athletes)...
Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley - In a former life, Blair tore up the USATF cross country circuit a little. Now she steps up to high school as the #1 scorer for Eagle Valley. She finished third at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede with a 19:10.
Carter Brand, Rock Canyon - If Rock Canyon keeps picking up guys like this, the time to close the gap on Mountain Vista will be reduced substantially. Brand ran 11:23 to win the JV Boys race at the Vista Nation XC 2-Mile.
Isalina Colsman, Regis Jesuit - We've talked already about Colsman as the one who keyed the surprising Regis Jesuit win at the Cherry Creek Invitational. She did that by finishing fourth overall with a time of 19:15.
Derek Fearon, Rock Canyon - Copy the comments about Carter Brand and insert here, except that Fearon ran 11:26 for second.
Jenna Fitzsimmons, Mountain Vista - With sister Mauren sitting this one out, the younger Fitzsimmons stepped up, ran 12:22 for two miles and settled into Mountain Vista's #2 scoring position.
Sean Graff, Montrose - Sean's older brother Evan has been the #2 guy for Montrose for a while now. It would appear that Evan just might start finding some competition for that position within his own household. Sean ran 17:15 for 22nd in the 4A Boys race at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede.
James Gregory, Fort Collins - James Gregory's 17:24 earned the win in the FR/SO race at the Cherry Creek Invitational. It also would have lined him up as the #3 guy on varsity for the winning team if he had been running in the varsity race.
Shae Henley, ThunderRidge - We made much of Isalina Colsman's result on Friday that propelled Regis Jesuit to the team title at the Cherry Creek Steve Lohman meet, but Colsman was not the top freshman finisher in the girls race. That honor goes out to Shae Henley of ThunderRidge. Henley ran 19:12 for third place. Henley ran 28th at last year's middle school state meet, so this looks like a nice little improvement over last year for the new Grizzly.
Annie Hughes, Buena Vista - Hughes, you will recall, is the one who beat Telluride's Soleil Gaylord in the 2A Girls (yes, Buena Vista's enrollment has declined to the point where they are now 2A) race at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. And, although, Gaylord losing anything at this point comes as a bit of a surprise, Hughes' success shouldn't come as a surprise. Hughes recently moved in from Wisconsin, where she has personal bests (at least as far as is recorded in the MileSplit database) of 5:07.53, 10:52.90, and 18:37.38. Hughes is a senior.
Shannon King, Faith Christian - Like a lot of other runners on this list, King has a background deep in running, just not at the high school level. King ran a smart debut race to earn a fourth at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede in 20:19, just a fraction of a second behind fellow freshman Lilly Lavier. That might be a match-up we could see more of later in the year.
Kasey Klocek, Green Mountain - Klocek, a freshman in the Green Mountain program, stepped to the front of the Ram order with a 12:06 two mile effort at the New Balance Valmont meet. Given the course and the conditions, she's probably a lot faster than that over two miles. I had initially reported Klocek as a sophomore, but it appears her year of graduation has been updated to indicate she is a freshman. Klocek has no previous recorded results in the MileSplit database.
Kenadi Krueger, Thompson Valley - Krueger was at the front of a whole lot of middle school races the last two falls. She's evidently taking that habit to the high school level. Krueger ran 19:28 for a fourth at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede.
Lilly Lavier, Alamosa - Lavier bided her time like a veteran in her debut high school race at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. The strategy paid off nicely with a third-place finish in 20:19. When the only ones you finish behind in your debut race are Lily Tomasula-Martin and Hannah McReavy, you can feel good about that.
Tatum Miller, Air Academy - Miller has a history of some nice performances, but nothing in a high school uniform until Friday until she ran second at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede to teammate Maria Mettler. That was second at 19-flat.
Sarah O'Sullivan, Mountain Vista - O'Sullivan is evidently the 2 of a devastating 1-2 punch from the Mountain Vista freshman class. O'Sullivan ran 12:27 for the #3 scoring position in the Mountain Vista order on Friday.
Aidan Scott, Castle View - Scott was the top freshman finisher, at least for the varsity race, at Friday's running of the Cherry Creek Invitational. Scott's 17:24 earned him 18th place and the #1 spot on the Castle View team.
Cole Sprout, Faith Christian - With a little more conservative approach, Sprout might well have won his debut high school race. That kind of race wisdom will come with experience. As it was, he finished second to the top returning finisher in 3A at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. 16:20 is an incredible freshman time. And, once again, Faith Christian has a game-changing kind of runner in the fold.
Sydney Swanker, Broomfield - The Eagle roster is a tough one to crack, but this freshman just might find a way. She ran 12:52 for two miles on the New Balance Valmont course. Great high school careers have begun with a lot less (or more, in this case) than that.
Noah Trautner, Pine Creek - Mostly overlooked in all the hubbub of Mountain Vista vs. Rock Canyon vs. Palmer Ridge is the fact that Pine Creek's boys were led by a freshman. Noah Trautner's 11:01 on the challenging Mountain Vista 2-mile course put him in 16th place.