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Valor Christian sophomore Cole Sprout and Jenna Fitzsimmons of Mountain Vista didn't waste much time looking behind to see who was chasing them.
Both won individual titles at the state cross country championships on Oct. 28 in Colorado Springs.
Sprout made it look easy in capturing the Class 4A title with a 14.3-second victory. He was timed in a 4A record time of 15:42.1, breaking the previous classification standard of 15:50.4.
Fitzsimmons, also a sophomore, was fifth last season but crossed the finish line first in the Class 5A race with a time of 18:10.3 to beat runner-up and Vista teammate Caroline Eck by over six seconds.
Sprout was selected as the 2017 boys Colorado Community Media South Metro Runner of the Year while Fitzsimmons was the girls Runner of the Year for the second straight season.
“It obviously wasn't easy but a lot less intense that it could have been,” said Sprout about his state championship win. “At the Desert Twilight (Sept. 29 in Casa Grande, Arizona.) where I ran a 14:49 it was a tight race down to the wire. I didn't have time to rest.
“I definitely had that (time to rest) during the state meet. The last mile when I had a pretty good gap, I was still pushing but not as hard as I could have. I could have probably run a faster time if I had a person right behind me to give that extra boost.”
Sprout was undefeated in Colorado and was the Jefferson County 4A League champion, regional winner and state titleholder.
“I was happy with the season. It was an incredible experience,” he continued. “I just really wanted to improve my times this year, win state and hopefully qualify for nationals.”
Fitzsimmons, whose two older sisters Delaney and Mauren competed in cross country at Mountain Vista, was motivated by the team and led the Golden Eagles to the state team title.
“I was focused on the team and what I could do doing the race,” said Fitzsimmons. “I was just trying to get to the finish line. I thought people would be flying at the finish. Everything went pretty well.”
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