COLORADO SPRINGS — Lyons senior Quin Gregg had high hopes coming into the Class 2A state girls cross country championship race on Saturday. She knew that Vanguard’s state champion, Nadhia Campos, and Buena Vista’s runner-up in Zaila Smith would provide tough competition for her, and her strategy revolved around keeping pace with those two.
Her game plan worked out well in the end as she crossed the finish line 1 minute, 17 seconds behind Campos to place fourth at 20:04.2 at the Norris Penrose Event Center course. She improved four spots from her 2020 state meet finish.
“I wasn’t disappointed in myself at all because I gave it my all,” Gregg said. “Coming back from last year, finishing eighth, I’m proud of myself because I had a lot of stress in my shoulders. With the help of my coaches and my team, they put it in perspective. They were like, ‘Look, you just have to run smart, you have to have fun and realize this is your last year at this course.’”
The Lyons girls finished fifth as a team with 131 points.
McCleskey grabs podium spot
While Niwot again stole the show in the 4A classification, there were some other strong results from local runners.
Cue the ever-reliable Maggie McCleskey of Centaurus.
Her fourth straight trip to state, the Warriors senior finally cracked the podium with a 10th-place finish in 18:46.8.
Previously, she’d finished 14th at state as a junior and 35th and 25th respectively in her first two seasons.
“I actually didn’t believe them when they told me I was in the top 10,” McCleskey said. “I thought I was 12th or 11th, so it was the best surprise ever.”
On the boys’ side, nine local runners placed within the top 30. Among four Cougars runners, Erie’s Evan Kraus finished 11th in 16:06.5. Longmont’s Andreas O’Malley was 15th (16:19.8), Centaurus’ Max Heins 16th (16:22.6), Centaurus’ Kyle Berg 25th (16:39.1), Longmont’s Connor McCormick 29th (16:49.3).
Mead, led by Nolan Hoffman’s 44th-place finish, claimed fifth in the boys’ team race. Longmont was sixth and Centaurus was ninth.
Silver Creek landed 10th in the girls team standings.
5A girls leave their mark
Three local girls ran inside the top 20 in the 5A race with Legacy’s Mia Mraz finishing 15th (18:47.9), Boulder’s Lindsay Cook 19th (18:58.1) and Fairview’s Sierra Wall 20th (18:59.8).
Behind that, three others rounded out the top 50 with Fairview’s Rose Churchill in 36th (19:31), Broomfield’s Maelynn Higgins in 43rd (19:41.2) and Monarch’s Layla Fisher 50th (19:49.3).
At the regional at Broomfield Commons the week before, Higgins outkicked Mraz for third overall and the top local spot. Behind them in order was Wall, Cook and Churchill.
Top of Class 3A
Holy Family led all local 3A teams, taking fourth in the boys race and seventh in girls.
Atop the boys group for the Tigers, Micah Munoz was 32nd (17:39.8) and was shadowed by Anthony Haberkorn in 37th (17:46.1) and Patrick Cavanaugh in 47th (18:10.1).
Evelyn Boyd was 37th (21:05.1) for Holy Family in the girls’ race.
Elsewhere, Jefferson Academy senior Evan Mills led all local 3A runners with a 15th-place finish in 17:00.7. Avery Marr of Prospect Ridge Academy was 23rd in girls.
As a team, Jefferson Academy was sixth in boys and Prospect Ridge Academy was 10th.
PRA was 12th in girls and JA was 13th.
TPCA’s Jenkins nabs top-15 finish in 2A
At the beginning of the season, Twin Peaks’ Aaron Jenkins boasted high confidence in the boys team’s talents. He had finished eighth at Centaurus’ Bernie Gay Invite.
“I think this is our strongest team that we’ve ever had,” Jenkins said at the time.
On Saturday, he proved it when he crossed the finish line at 12th overall with a time of 17:22.2 and teammate Giorgio Spensieri placed 29th at 18:12.7.
Other Top 25 finishers
Tyler Ball, Lyons: first, 16:16.7
Cole Thomas, Lyons: 15th, 17:26.3
Arjen Wynja, Lyons: 23rd, 17:58.
Evan Mills, Jefferson Academy: 15th, 17:00.7
Avery Marr, Prospect Ridge Academy: 23rd, 20:22.8
Zane Bergen, Niwot: 1st, 15:17.7
Carlos Kipkorir Cheruiyot, Niwot: 8th, 15:57.8
Joey Hendershot, Niwot: 9th, 15:58.1
Evan Kraus, Erie: 11th, 16:06.5
Andreas O’Malley, Longmont: 15th, 16:19.8
Max Heins, Centaurus: 16th, 16:22.6
Frederick Ambrose, Niwot: 22nd, 16:35.0
Kyle Berg, Centaurus: 25th, 16:39.1
Eva Klingbeil, Niwot: 1st, 17:58.9
Mia Prok, Niwot: 3rd, 18:23.4
Bella Nelson, Niwot: 5th, 18:35.2
Stella Vieth, Niwot: 8th, 18:46.4
Sarah Perkins, Niwot: 9th, 18:46.5
Maggie McCleskey, Centaurus: 10th, 18:46.8
Madison Shults, Niwot: 11th, 18:49.8
Tessa Everett, Niwot: 16th, 19:16.0
Eric Sankey, Fairview: third, 15:57.1
Gavin Geer, Boulder: 10th, 16:18
Tim Churchill, Fairview: 13th, 16:27.8
Mia Mraz, Legacy: 15th, 18:47.9
Lindsay Cook, Boulder: 19th, 18:58.1
Sierra Wall, Fairview: 20th, 18:59.8