Cherry Creek cross country coach Ethan Dusto knew his team had a good chance to finish second in the state cross country meet Oct. 27 at the Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. Mountain Vista …
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Cherry Creek cross country coach Ethan Dusto knew his team had a good chance to finish second in the state cross country meet Oct. 27 at the Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
Mountain Vista was the strong favorite to take the championship, and the Golden Eagles did just that. The Bruins finished in second place ahead of Centennial League rival Cherokee Trail.
Creek lost the Centennial League title to Cherokee Trail on Oct. 11 by three points despite having five girls in the top 10.
However, it was a different story at the state meet.
The Bruins, with three freshmen, a sophomore and three juniors on the seven-member team, were 44 points behind Mountain Vista, which won its second straight title.
“We knew going into this it was going to take a real good day on our part to beat Cherokee Trail to get second place,” said Dusto. “We knew Vista wasn't in our league. We went after it. We had six kids in the top 40 at the mile. That set the tone and those girls just stayed together, pushed each other and had a strong finish."
Heritage was third in the boys team standings, with senior Ian Kelly leading the way with a seventh-place finish in 16:14.5.
“The first couple miles were a little tough, but then I picked it up,” said Kelly. “It's all the mentality, knowing you can do it. It takes time. It's just a matter of believing in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you can do it. I did good. I put it all out there and that's all you can do. I'm happy.”
For the Creek girls, Riley Stewart capped a banner freshman season by finishing fifth to lead the Bruins. Shelby Balding, another freshman, was 11th and junior Lauren Lap Porte was 13th.
Stewart, who was timed in 18:42.5, was the race leader at the mile mark but two-time state champion Jenna Fitzsimmons of Mountain Vista soon took the lead and notched what turned out to be a 13-second victory over second-place Taylor Whitfield of Valor Christian.
Cherry Creek had two boys run as individuals and freshman Parker Wolfe was fourth.
Wolfe was clocked in 15:56.9.
“I felt like I ran pretty well,” he said. “I worked hard all season and it paid off. The first half mile I was behind and back in the pack. Once I hit the mile mark, I started to go."
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