Sprout, Stewart, Arapahoe girls claim crowns

South metro schools finish strong at state cross country meet

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Cole Sprout, Riley Stewart and the Arapahoe girls team were the big winners Oct. 26 at the Class 5A state cross country meet at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs.

Sprout, a Valor Christian senior, won his third straight state championship and second consecutive 5A title with another state record time. Stewart, a Cherry Creek sophomore, was a wire-to-wire individual winner. And the Arapahoe girls were the surprise champions of Class 5A.

It would have been more noteworthy if Sprout had not won since he has dominated races the past three seasons, but he was once again the best runner in the class as he broke his own state record with a new standard of 15:12.7.

“The first half of the race was pretty controlled,” said Sprout, who was the 4A champion in 2017. “I got out pretty quick and felt good the first mile. The second half after those couple hills, I felt good. It was pretty gritty. It definitely hurt but I pushed it aside and finished strong.

“Yeah, the state record was definitely on my mind and you never know how a race is going to unfold. The race went kind of how I imagined it in my mind. I'm gritty as a runner. I have a good tempo. When I feel like I'm hurting, I don't feel like slowing down.”

Stewart, fifth a year ago, led the 5A title race by 11 seconds at the mile marker and never let up with a winning time of 18:12.3, which was more than 12 seconds ahead of runner-up Cameron McConnell of Cherokee Trail.

Like Sprout, she didn't have a close competitor in the race.

“I feel like I ran pretty well,” Stewart said. “ I felt really super strong going into the last mile, and I just wanted to push myself all the way to the line. In all the races, I just try to push myself."

Arapahoe girls coach Jeff Krause had to push himself to find words to describe the Warriors' championship.

“I can't even fine the words for what they did,” said Krause. “They did everything we asked. I was honestly in shock. They ran the perfect race. I knew it was going to be tough to beat teams like Creek, Cherokee Trail and (Mountain) Vista. I knew we had an outside shot, but those were great teams and we just put it together."

Toward the end of the title race, it dawned on Krause that Arapahoe had a chance to win the state title.

“When I saw how close our No. 3 was,” said Krause.

Arapahoe freshman Ava Escorcia was sixth and classmate Ava Mitchell right behind in seventh. Junior Megan Bergstom was 12th and senior Kira McGill came in 21st. Freshman Emily Lamontagne was 25th.

Arapahoe finished with 69 points. Cherry Creek had 99 points and took home the runner-up trophy for the second consecutive season. Cherokee Trail was third with 157 points.

Two-time defending state champion Mountain Vista was fourth in the team standings, and the Golden Eagles were without senior Jenna Fitzsimmons, who was the individual state champion the past two seasons. Fitzsimmons injured her hip in the regionals and was unable to race.

Other individual 5A girls top 10 individual finishers from south metro schools included McConnell (second), Valor Christian freshman Brooke Wilson (third), junior Taylor Whitfield of Valor (fourth), Cherry Creek freshman Addison Price (seventh), Regis Jesuit senior Isalina Colsman (ninth) and Douglas County sophomore Aidyn Woodall (10th).

Mountain Vista's boys team, paced by Jack O'Sullivan, who crossed the finish line in 10th place, was second behind state 5A champ Dakota Ridge.

Top 10 5A boys runners from area schools were Cherry Creek junior Parker Wolfe (third) and Rock Canyon senior Wes Beckham (ninth).

Sophomore Owen Nolan of SkyView Academy was second in the 3A boys race and helped the Hawks to a third-place finish in the team standings.

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