Riley Stewart of Cherry Creek High School won another Class 5A girls individual cross country title and Tanner Brown of Parker-area school Chaparral captured his first 5A boys championship on Oct. 30 at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
In the 5A team competition, Centennial school Arapahoe won the girls title and Mountain Vista edged crosstown Highlands Ranch school Valor Christian by two points to take home the boys title.
Arapahoe, a runner-up to Cherry Creek in last season's girls state meet, reversed places with Creek's Bruins as the Warriors had 42 points while second place Cherry Creek finished with 60 points.
The 5A boys team chase was close as Vista had five runners in the top 20 to garner 59 points. Valor's fifth runner was 22nd and the Eagles had 61 points.
Stewart won her third straight individual title and couldn't say if anybody pushed her during the race, which she won with a time of 17:20.9. Valor Christian's Brooke Wilson was second in 17:47.4 with Emily Lamontagne of Arapahoe finishing third with a time of 18:01.3.
Aidyn Woodall of Castle Rock school Douglas County was sixth.
“It feels amazing,” said the Stanford-bound Stewart. “The conditions were nice. It was nice and cool and there wasn't a lot of wind. This title was pretty amazing because it was a way to finish my high school career before I head to college.”
Wilson was the closest runner to Stewart but her dreams didn't come true.
“In my dreams I was hoping to compete with her but I was really happy with where I was compared to her,” she said. “I was really happy with my race. Everything that I was planning before all kind of fell into of what actually I wanted it to be.”
Brown, a sophomore, ran in a time of 15:44.7 to edge Valor Christian's Ty Garrett who was second in 15:48.3.
Brown exceeded his hopes.
“I came I here hoping to get a Top 5 but I was feeling good and able to keep up with the pack until the end,” said Brown. “Going up that final hill into the stadium, I knew I could take it because I've always felt so strong on that hill when we would come down to practice and in last year's race. I felt great. It was the best race I've run.”
Arapahoe's girls had their five scoring runner place in among the top 18 individuals.
“We won freshman year but we have improved a lot since then,” said the Warriors' Emily Lamontagne. “As a whole we had a really good team. We were definitely hoping for a good showing down here. We definitely wanted to run the best that we could.”
Lamontagne's third-place finish led Arapahoe with Ava Mitchell coming in fourth, Anna Bridges 11th, Ava Escorcia 16th and Karli Holmes 18th.
Vista's boys knew they had come in either first or second but didn't know they had won until it was announced over the public address system that Valor was second, which set off a celebration among the Golden Eagles athletes. It was the third straight title for the Golden Eagles and seventh overall boys cross country state championship.
Vista's Jayden Nats was fifth in the individual race with a time of 16:01.6, Tyler Downs was eighth, Benjamin Anderson 11th, Luke Urban 20th and Aaron Yoccom 21st.
“We knew it was close,” said Nats. “I was nervous. When I finished I looked back and saw Valor was just alternating finishes. I had faith in my teammates. We've had a tough season with injuries and sickness. We have lots of alumni and fans in the stands to cheer us on and it was good to get the win.”
Connor Kennedy of Littleton school Heritage was sixth among the Top 10 in the 5A boys race.
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