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Mountain Vista sent seven boys and girls runners onto the Norris-Penrose Event Center course for the Oct. 28 Class 5A cross country championships and that gave fans and supporters who make up Vista Nation plenty to cheer about.
Vista swept the boys and girls state championships in Colorado Springs.
The Golden Eagles boys, led by senior Carter Dillon's fifth-place individual finish and an eighth-place by senior Shayan Zarrin, won their fifth state crown in the past six years.
Three other Continental League boys teams finished in the top 10. Rock Canyon's boys were second, Legend sixth and Chaparral eighth. Heritage was 11, Cherry Creek 15 and Arapahoe 18 in the team standings.
Sophomore Jenna Fitzsimmons became the first runner in Mountain Vista history to win an individual championship when she led four of the five scoring athletes by crossing the finish line first. Junior Caroline Eck was second, sophomore Sarah O'Sullivan fifth and sophomore Madison Reed tenth.
Rock Canyon was third in the girls standings and Cherry Creek seventh.
“It feels pretty good,” said Vista coach Jonathan Dalby. “This year, the kids set the goal to win both the boys and girls. They did it with a lot of hard work. Our kids make sure everyone on the team feels value and not just for our seven kids that ran today but for all the people in the stands and down to our 105 kid.”
Dillon and Fitzsimmons said Vista was motivated
“After losing last year as a team (to Monarch), it's been 364 days of hard work,” Dillon said. “I was definitely going for the win but I think I did my part for the team and that's what I really came in to do.
“It's just a brotherhood at Vista, nobody does it for themselves. You are always doing it for the guys next to you. You work so hard and it's fun seeing all that work pay off.”
Fitzsimmons, who was fifth last season, said reaching the goal of a team sweep was an incentive that was helped by the fact she ran most of the race with teammates Eck and O'Sullivan.
“We set goals and we've worked hard toward them,” she said. “My legs were burning, but I just kept telling myself to do it for my team. I kept saying that over and over again in my head. It was crazy. It was so good to have my teammates next to me. I don't think I could have done it without them.”
Rock Canyon's one-two punch assisted the Jaguars runner-up boys finish. Senior Chris Theodore was second to Monarch's Charlie Perry while sophomore Easton Allred was sixth
“We've had that one-two punch all year and that kind of set the table for us,” Rock Canyon coach Dan Davies said. “Mountain Vista's boys team is phenomenal. Their depth is phenomenal. We got them once at the Liberty Bell when we ran our best race of the year. We knew we poked the bear.”
In Class 4A, Valor Christian sophomore Cole Sprout finished 18 seconds ahead of the second-place runner in the boys race and set a new course record of 15:42.1, snapping the previous standard of 15:50.4.
“My goal was maybe to win and break the course record,” said Sprout, who left the field chasing him from far behind. “Going into the third mile I had a pretty good gap and I felt pretty confident. It's a little it tough with a big lead but it's reassuring that they are not there right behind you. It is a little nerve wracking not knowing where they are.”
Led by junior Tyler Scholl's sixth-place finish in the Class 3A boys race, SkyView Academy was second behind Classical Academy in the team standings.
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