BROOMFIELD — Boulder’s Gavin Geer, with the feeling of getting left out of last year’s state field still picking away in his mind, made sure to leave no doubt about his place among the best this time around.
The Panthers senior, who had been the first runner out of qualifying for state due to capacity restrictions surrounding the pandemic last fall, returned to the Class 5A Region 3 meet with a landslide victory Thursday afternoon.
“Gavin was hungry this year,” said Boulder coach Geo Tam, who’s girls and boys team finished second. “You could see he started shifting up his racing strategy and he just had a different confidence this year.”
Geer — following his seventh-place regional finish as a junior with a near wire-to-wire victory at a 5K course that stretched around the south side of Broomfield Commons Park — beat the field by 18 seconds, crossing in 16 minutes and 3.20 seconds. Fairview’s Tim Churchill took second in 16:21.60 as the Knights, who ran without their top boys’ runner in Eric Sankey, won both team titles.
“I was a little annoyed — I was definitely annoyed I didn’t make it last year,” said Geer, who would’ve easily qualified for his third straight state meet in 2020 if not for the change in protocol. “I felt like I deserved to be here, so it would mean a lot to me to come out this year and have a great state finish.”
Like Geer, Fairview left little tension during the races while putting together a pair of runaway victories.
The boys were without top-runner Sankey for precautionary ailment reasons, but still managed to get seven runners inside the top 15.
Holden Krizek (16:31.70) and Jack Brown (16:32.20) followed Churchill in third and fourth. Gordon Nilsen was 11th, while Caspar Bartholomew Brown, Jack Zajac and Vincent Mangat rounded out the Knights’ seven.
“The main thing is that every single person on the team, no matter if they’re running last or first, pushes the next person,” Churchill said. “So, everyone is essentially working together no matter where they are in the race.”
The FHS girls, meanwhile, put three in the top 10 with Sierra Wall’s fifth (18:28.30) coming behind perhaps the most exciting finish of the day — Broomfield’s Maelynn Higgins edging out Legacy’s Mia Mraz in the final steps for third (18:19.30 to 18:19.70).
Rose Churchill followed in Boulder’s Lindsay Cook for seventh and Allison Kirby was behind the Panthers’ Opal Sitzman for ninth.
Neither Fairview’s boys nor girls had a senior among its top-seven finishers.
“It’s just been so fun to watch them go from freshmen to sophomores to juniors, seniors,” Fairview coach Sean Vandermosten said. His smile widened. “These guys … they’re great, man.”
The top four teams and top 15 individuals automatically qualified for the state meet at Norris Penrose Event Center Oct. 30.
Behind Fairview-Boulder, Broomfield and Monarch went three-four on the girls’ side. Denver East-Ralston Valley rounded out the boys’ qualifiers.
Below are the top-15 finishers in each race:
1. Gavin Geer, Boulder, 16:03.2
2. Tim Churchill, Fairview 16:21.6
3. Holden Krizek, Fairview 16:31.7
4. Jack Brown, Fairview 16:32.2
5. Quinn Higgins, Denver East, 16:32.8
6. Eamon Nussbaum, Denver East, 16:41.2
7. Slaiman Hadi, Boulder, 16:43.7
8. Santiago Saenz, Monarch, 16:46.4
9. Gustavo Rivera, Pomona, 16:51.7
10. Nicholas Schweiker, Ralston Valley, 16:52.3
11. Gordon Nilsen, Fairview, 16:52.7
12. Daniel Recio, Northglenn, 16:54.2
13. Caspar Bartholomew Brown, Fairview, 16:54.7
14. Jake Zajac, Fairview, 16:58.3
15. Vincent Mangat, Fairview 17:00.5
Girls1. Emma Stutzman, Pomona, 17:49.6
2. Rosie Mucharsky, Denver East, 18:03.8
3. Maelynn Higgins, Broomfield, 18:19.3
4. Mia Mraz, Legacy, 18:19.7
5. Sierra Wall, Fairview, 18:28.3
6. Lindsay Cook, Boulder, 18:50.6
7. Rose Churchill, Fairview, 19:16.4
8. Opal Sitzman, Boulder, 19:21.9
9. Allison Kirby, Fairview, 19:25.4
10. Norah Powers, Broomfield, 19:30.8
11. Layla Fisher, Monarch, 19:40.3
12. Grace Todd, Denver East, 19:40.9
13. Peyton Meier, Legacy, 19:41.9
14. Eliana DiManna, Ralston Valley, 19:44.3
15. Paisley Williamson, Broomfield, 19:53.3