Late in the race, Eric Hamer and Danyon Anderson share the lead, but Cheyenne Mountain's Zach Kuzma closes the gap. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Until this year, the Colorado Springs Metro League was one big, sort of happy family. Actually, they were a little too big to be as happy as they could have been. So, this year, the 4A portion of the Colorado Springs Metro League did a little mitosis and became two leagues where once there was one.
Now residing in the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference are Cheyenne Mountain, Falcon, Sand Creek, Vista Ridge, Discovery Canyon, Lewis-Palmer, Air Academy, and Palmer Ridge. Remaining in the Colorado Springs Metro League, 4A Division, are Mitchell, Wasson, Coronado, Harrison, Sierra, Widefield, and Mesa Ridge.
Both had their league meets today, and both in Fountain, but at different venues. And with dramatically different outcomes.
In the Colorado Springs Metro League 4A meet, Coronado exercised the nuclear option, twice. The top seven places in both races went to Coronado. Two perfect scores, but better even than perfect scores. Nobody else put a runner on the board until #8.
All I can say is that a result like that doesn't leave much room for interpretation.
For the boys, the top seven came across in times ranging from 16:09 to 17:19. For the girls, it was 19:33 to 20:39. And the Fountain-Fort Carson course where they ran doesn't have a reputation of running especially fast. The names at the top were more or less who you would have expected them to be: Bailey Roth, Dan Egger, Andres Luna for the boys, and Sylvia Hayes, Lauren Akers, Shannon Young for the girls.
It will likely be a little different for Coronado at next week's regional meet in Pueblo. For one thing, Cheyenne Mountain will be there.
For today, though, Cheyenne Mountain was at the Pikes Peak Conference meet at Fountain Creek Regional Park. (Note: Today's course was slightly longer than the course used at the TCA Titan Thunder meet. I'll do some further investigation of course length and report back after the season, but it could easily be that today's course was a more accurate 5K than the course used on September 29).
The girls ran their league championship race first and it resulted in a thorough victory for Air Academy. Even with Katie Rainsberger standing alongside the course, cheerfully urging her teammates on, Air Academy turned aside Cheyenne Mountain, 41 - 64, for the inaugural league meet title. All five scoreres placed between 5 and 12. Up front for the Kadets, and both under 20:00, were Olivia Evans and Kat Pennington. This team only gets better with Rainsberger back, presumably next week.
Greta Sloan led the Cheyenne Mountain contingent with a 19:35.
Although Ali Deitsch won the race in 19:08, Palmer Ridge finished third in the team scoring, losing a tie-breaker at #6 to Cheyenne Mountain. For Deitsch, it was a wire-to-wire win, with Vista Ridge's Lina Arista being the last to give up contact with the eventual winner.
The boys race held a lot more suspense, in both the individual and team categories.
Individually, Eric Hamer of Palmer Ridge and Danyon Anderson of Air Academy ran shoulder-to-shoulder most of the way. They took turns looking the more weary, but neither would let the other go.
Behind them, however, a plot was thickening. Slowly, and almost imperceptibly, Zach Kuzma of Josh Fowler of Cheyenne Mountain were closing the gap on the established leaders. Over the final 200 meters, a mad dash of one Kadet, two Indians, and one Bear resulted in Danyon Anderson taking first in 16:25. Kuzma, Hamer, and Fowler followed at approximately one-second intervals.
Patience paid off for very nearly the entire Cheyenne Mountain squad. Behind Kuzma and Fowler came Ben Fox (7), Tristan Pelto (8), and Alex Baer (12) to close out the scoring and secure the team title.
Palmer Ridge's fortunes declined more or less throughout the second half of the race, and the Bears ended up second, 26 points back of Cheyenne Mountain.
What seemed apparent was that there was more fuel in the tank for Cheyenne Mountain. On this day, it was neither needed nor spent. It's questionable whether we'll see a bigger expenditure next week or not. Qualifying out of 4A Region 5 doesn't appear to be turning into a major ordeal for Cheyenne Mountain.
Pikes Peak Athletic Conference Results, Videos, and Photos
Colorado Springs Metro League Results