Cross country: Local schools qualify 16 full teams for state at Lyons

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LYONS — Connor McCormick could hardly have asked for a better finish at the Class 4A Region 4 cross country race on Thursday afternoon.

The Longmont senior, who led with a small pack of boys through much of the Lyons High School course, fell behind the eventual winner, Mountain View’s Jackson Shorten, just after the 2-mile marker. He still managed to take the silver with a time of 16 minutes, 2.6 seconds and lead the Trojan boys to a second-place team finish to send the whole team to the state meet next weekend.

“Obviously, Jackson was in this race. My goal was to just be with him and if I felt good, then surpass him,” McCormick said. “He obviously was the better man today. Next week is the same strategy but hopefully, I can pull through on it.”

McCormick said he was thrilled to see the strides his team has made all season, and it showed as seniors Andreas O’Malley and Dominic Warner crossed the finish line right after him at third and fourth.

Mead, however, came out on top as the Mavericks defeated Longmont by 23 points and Erie placed third behind those two squads. Only the top four teams in each race will get to send their full teams to the state meet at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs next Saturday. The top 15 individuals also qualified.

The Longmont area ladies performed nearly as well as their male counterparts. Silver Creek’s and Mead’s teams completed the two-three punch as Mead secured its spot as one of six BoCoPreps schools to qualify their full teams, boys and girls, for 4A state.

Silver Creek’s girls, however, were just a little bit better. Junior Taylor Weiss, who placed second overall (20:19.70), embodied the type of hard work that the Raptors have put in to get to this point. She returned from a leg injury just four weeks ago. Now, she’ll get to compete for a championship.

“It’s just a really big motivator that the work that we’re putting in is going somewhere and we’re actually getting stuff out of it,” Weiss said. “It’s exciting that we, Silver Creek, our girls team is that good to go (to state) every year.”

Class 4A was far from the only BoCoPreps area classification to find success in Lyons on Thursday. 3A, in fact, put up the most prolific results.

The 3A Region 3 race resulted in not one, not two, but four local schools sending both their boys and girls teams to state. In both races, Holy Family won followed by Jefferson Academy, Prospect Ridge Academy and Peak to Peak. The end of the girls race provided a bit of excitement as Prospect Ridge’s Avery Marr started to sprint on Holy Family’s Evelyn Boyd, prompting her to do the same.

Boyd only beat her out for third place because she leaned forward at the finish line.

“My teammates just started going, ‘Ev, she’s right there.’ It was great to have her, honestly, pushing me because I wouldn’t have done that if she wasn’t there,” Boyd said. “Our girls have just pushed each other so hard and that’s the sole reason why we’re going that hard is because we’re all pushing each other.”

PRA’s Logan Goodman won the boys race outright with a 17:14.80 finish.

The Class 2A Region 1 races also reaped favorable finishes, especially for the home team. Lyons took second in the boys’ team standings and third for the girls, making the Lions the sixth local school to qualify everyone for the next round. Twin Peaks Charter Academy, which houses perhaps its best boys team ever this year, finished third to punch its team ticket to state as well.

Home course advantage proved vital to Lyons junior Tyler Ball, who won the boys race outright at 16:46.60. Lyons’ Quin Gregg also won her race with a 20:26.50 time.

“It was a tough race,” Ball said. “I was alone the whole time, but I kind of figured I would be. I know the course. I’ve studied it. I run it every day, so it was a good race,” Ball said. “It’s knowing the tangents, knowing where you need to turn to finish in the fastest way possible.”

State qualifiers:

Full teams: Mead boys, Mead girls, Holy Family boys, Holy Family girls, Jefferson Academy boys, Jefferson Academy girls, Prospect Ridge Academy boys, Prospect Ridge Academy girls, Peak to Peak boys, Peak to Peak girls, Lyons boys, Lyons girls, Longmont boys, Erie boys, Silver Creek girls, Twin Peaks Charter Academy boys.

Individuals: Girls — Mikenna Hoffman (Frederick), Ashley Keazer (Erie), Ella Jimenez (Erie), Helen Leon (Dawson) and Eirwen McClish (Nederland).

Boys — Chase Svela (Frederick) and Kade Robinson (Silver Creek).