I admire cross country runners, because frankly, it doesn’t look like much fun.
The better runners finish and hardly look out of breath, while I have to pause after running or jogging to the car.
All of the state’s best runners will be competing at the state cross country meet on Oct. 26 at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs.
In Class 5A, all eyes will be on Valor Christian senior Cole Sprout. He is the defending champion, who also won the 4A state title in 2017. Sprout won the Region 2 qualifying meet on Oct. 17 with a time of 15:46.80.
Other 5A boys contenders are junior Parker Wolfe of Cherry Creek, Wesley Beckham of Rock Canyon, several Dakota Ridge runners, Arapahoe’s John Forbes and Kevin Conlon of Fort Collins.
Defending champion Dakota Ridge appears to be the team to beat, but Mountain Vista, Valor and Fort Collins will be the challengers.
Cherry Creek’s Riley Stewart, the Region 1 champ, heads the list of leading 5A girls runners. The sophomore ran a 17:49.60 to capture the qualifying meet and has a top time this season of 17:05.00 on Oct. 5 at the Steve Lohman Invitational.
Defending champion senior Jenna Fitzsimmons, of Mountain Vista, will be in the title picture along with Taylor Whitfield and Brooke Wilson of Valor Christian, Aidyn Woodall of Douglas County and Ava Escorcia of Arapahoe.
Cherry Creek, runner-up to defending champion Mountain Vista last season, will be among the girls 5A team title contenders, along with Cherokee Trail, Pine Creek and Valor.
It seems like the Rock Canyon and Highlands Ranch football teams, which had to deal with players going down with hand, foot and mouth disease, are doing better with no new cases reported.
HFMD is common in children under age 10. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is caused by the coxsackievirus and is passed around mostly by contact. There is no treatment and those with it are contagious for about a week. Symptoms include fever, poor appetite, sore throat, small sores and a rash.
“It is an ugly-sounding virus, but it’s like a cold and just has to run its course,” said Rock Canyon Athletic Director Tom Brieske. “We have had no new cases. We feel like we are in pretty good shape. We have a school of 2,300 students and only 15 students got HFMD. We had 11 or 12 confirmed football players and no players from any other team were sick. We felt like we contained it pretty well.”
Rock Canyon disinfected facilities and equipment. The Douglas County School District came in to deep clean and sanitize door handles, water fountains and other areas students commonly touch.
Highlands Ranch’s team is healthy now after playing Rock Canyon on Oct. 4 .
“We had four cases all stemming from our Rock Canyon game,” said coach TJ Rubley. “Nobody has gotten sick since and we think we are through the window now.”
Hall of Fame for Gwozdecky
Former University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky, who is now the head hockey coach at Valor Christian, was one of six people selected to be inducted as part of the 2020 class of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Gwozdecky, who coached for 19 seasons at DU with a 443-267-64 record and two NCAA championships, will be joined in the new class of inductees by former Rockies general manager Bob Gebhard, Air Force Academy gold medal winner Alonzo Babers, paralympian Erin Popovich, ex-Mitchell High School and Oklahoma State running back Terry Mitchell and skier Lindsey Vonn.
The Hall of Fame banquet is April 23, 2020.
Each week, performances of south metro athletes and teams will be highlighted. This week’s performances were selected from games, matches and meets between Oct. 10 and Oct. 17.
David Dody of Regis Jesuit averaged 6.7 yards per carry, rushed for 188 yards and scored five touchdowns in a 38-21 football victory over Legend on Oct. 11.
Jaden Wolf scored twice as the Arapahoe boys soccer team notched a 4-1 win over Mullen on Oct. 11.
Jayle Sacks rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown, while James Walker ran for 136 yards and a TD as the Cherry Creek football team downed Arapahoe 24-7 on Oct. 10.
Legend junior Rylie Kadel had 13 kills and a 65 percent kill percentage in a 3-0 volleyball win over Ponderosa on Oct. 10.
Junior Cael Porter made the most of his 12 carries as he gained 150 yards for an average of 12.5 yards per attempt and scored a TD in Ponderosa’s 42-7 football win over Gateway on Oct. 17.
Valor Christian’s volleyball team gave up only 34 points in three sets during a 3-0 sweep over Arvada West on Oct. 15.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 303-566-4083.
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