Mountain Vista High School’s boys cross-country team took 12th place among 22 schools at the Nike Cross Nationals last weekend in Portland, Oregon.
Senior Paxton Smith, with a time of 16:01:3, placed first among his teammates and 71overall of …
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Senior Paxton Smith, with a time of 16:01:3, placed first among his teammates and 71overall of the 195 runners at the 5,000-meter course at Glendoveer Golf Course.
“If I could do everything again, I would’ve gone out faster due to the amount of people,” said Smith, who was the 2015 Continental League champion and ran fifth in the Class 5A Colorado state championships“I feel like that would’ve helped my place. Our 12-place finish, though, is incredible. I couldn’t be more happy about that and I love my teammates. It’s great to see six months of hard work pay off.”
Mountain Vista’s boys cross-country team, which has won four straight Colorado Class 5A cross-country championships, competed in the Nike Southwestern Cross-County Championships on Nov. 21 in Casa Grande, Arizona.
Since it was not a Colorado High School Activities Association-sanctioned meet, the team ran under the tag of Vista Nation XC Club and became the only Colorado team to ever win the meet. The victory won the runners a berth at the Nike Cross Nationals.
“We had a pretty good day overall, considering we didn’t even have a top 20 national ranking during the season,” said Vista Nation coach Jonathan Dalby, referring to the national championship in Portland. “There were 18 state team champions and 59 individual state champions from across the country in this one race.”
Joining Smith at the national tourney were seniors Alex Fu and Ryan Currie, juniors Weston Hart, Shayan Zarrin and Joshua Romine and sophomore Parker Mackay.
The 12-place team finish put the season to rest on a high note, but also left room for improvement.
“We can learn from this year,” said Romine, who finished 93 individually, “and hopefully go back next year and improve.”
Mackay, who placed 97th, agreed.
“Now that we have seen the competition in nationals and understand it more, we want to go in next year with a chance to win,” Mackay said.
Smith, his teammates and coach Dalby credited hard work, determination and a supportive team chemistry as reasons for the successful season.
The team strategy was simple, said Smith: “Just go out and compete.”
The juniors and sophomores on the team are already looking forward to a strong season next year.
“Winning leagues in all the divisions is always an important goal for the whole team,” Romine said. “But we also want to win state again, get another W at Cross regionals. And I know everyone wants to go back to Portland for nationals again to see what we can do …”
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