Mountain Vista's boys and the girls from Rock Canyon ran away with the team titles in the Continental League cross country championships Oct. 9 at Redstone Park.
Paced by a one-two finish by Connor Weaver and Andrew Walton, the Mountain Vista boys had five runners finish in the top 10 and captured the league title.
The Golden Eagles, the defending Class 5A state champions, had 26 points, with Rock Canyon finishing second in the team standings with 102 points, followed by Chaparral with 104 points.
Rock Canyon senior Phoebe Schneider was first in the girls varsity race as the Jaguars placed three in the top 10 to win the team title with 66 points. Mountain Vista was the runner-up with 79 points and Heritage was third with 95 points.
The course had a 100-meter hill that runners had to ascend twice, which was a benefit for Weaver who crossed the finish line at Shea Stadium 22 seconds ahead of Walton.
“I'm kind of a hill guy so doing that hill twice was to my advantage,” he explained. “I took the lead three-quarters of a mile into the race.
“I wasn't expecting to win by that much. I felt like there was a person just a few steps behind me the whole race. So I was running worried. When I came in and didn't see anybody close to me I was surprised.”
Weaver, a senior, noticed a time of 16:54.
“It was one of my better races being a league championship race,” said Weaver. “I wanted to have a good race. I just wasn't expecting the course to run that slow.
“Time-wise it might not have been my best race, but all things considered it was a good effort. State is what matters. I'll be ready at state to challenge some people.”
Schneider's 19:33 effort made her the league champion.
“I started out at a pretty good pace,” she explained. “I stayed with a couple girls for the first mile and coming around the second loop, I took the lead. At the end I felt really good and took off and slowly started picking up until the finish.
“I've been pretty strong this year and my races in general have been improving one upon another. To be called a league champion is something I've been working towards since my freshman year. This was more of a racecourse than a time course. The place was more significant than the time. I've made some big strides and improvements this year and it will be fun to see how the big races go.”
Regional competition will be held Oct. 17-19 at various state venues, with the Class 5A state championships set for Oct. 26 at Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs.
“It was fun to see two guys go first and second in the same race and three other guys right behind them,” Mountain Vista coach Jonathan Dalby said of the Golden Eagles' Continental League championship race. “We need to get a strong effort from the sixth and seventh guys in the state meet and they are capable. We'll go in and hope to give it a good shot.”
Rock Canyon coach Dan Davies was pleased how his girls and boys teams performed in the Continental League meet and had high praise for Mountain Vista's boys team.
“We feel this is definitely our best girls team ever at Rock Canyon,” said Davies. “We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We definitely want to get in there and battle Pine Creek and Vista in the regionals. I'm proud of our guys. We were second in the league meet and we'll take that any day going against the Mountain Vista boys. In my opinion, they are one of the top 10 boys teams in the nation.”
The following are results of the varsity and junior varsity races at the Continental League championship cross country meet Oct. 9 at Redstone Park.
1. Connor Weaver, Mountain Vista, 16:23; 2. Andrew Walton, Mountain Vista, 16:45; 3. Forrest Barton, Castle View, 16:50; 4. Dom Compoz, Chaparral, 16:55; 5. Paxton Smith, Mountain Vista, 16:58; 6. Jake Lucero, Douglas County, 16:59; 7. Jake Blackburn, Rock Canyon, 17:01; 8. Blake Graf, Mountain Vista, 17:05; 9. Paul Moore, ThunderRidge, 17:09; 10. Tyler Matzke, Mountain Vista, 17:15.
Team results - Mountain Vista 26, Rock Canyon 102, Chaparral 104, Heritage 106, ThunderRidge 154.
1. Phoebe Schneider, Rock Canyon, 19:33; 2. Julie Vitella, Regis Jesuit, 19:40; 3. Annika Reuter, Heritage, 19:47; 4. Catherine Liggett, Legend, 19:51; 5. Savanna Dalton, Castle View, 19:52; 6. Mackenna Balman, Rock Canyon, 19:54; 7. Gabby Alcala, Rock Canyon, 19:56; 8. Solana Quistorff, Douglas County, 19:57 9. Lauren Linscott, Heritage, 20:09; 10. Delaney Fitzsimmons, Mountain Vista, 20:11.
Team results - Rock Canyon 66, Mountain Vista 79, Heritage 95, ThunderRidge 105, Regis Jesuit 115.
Junior varsity boys
1. Michael O'Sullivan, Mountain Vista, 17:50; 2. Ryan Currie, Mountain Vista, 17:56; 3.Lee Mahoney, Heritage, 18:00; 4. Austin Dennis, Chaparral, 18:07; 5. Christopher Lovejoy, Mountain Vista, 18:14.
Team results - Mountain Vista 26, Heritage 49, Rock Canyon 81.
Junior varsity girls
Lauren Soares, Mountain Vista, 20:53; 2. Morgan Aurich, ThunderRidge, 20:58; 3. Molly Vathanavarin, ThunderRidge, 21:21; 4. Jordan Dinges, ThunderRidge, 21:36; 5. Annie Trizna, ThunderRidge, 21:46.
Team results - ThunderRidge 42, Mountain Vista 41, Regis Jesuit 99.