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NHS cross country: Lang takes first place in Wiggins


October 25, 2016

The Colorado high school cross country season is heading into its final stretch, and Niwot runners are staking their claim to be among the state’s championship contenders.

On Oct. 7, the teams traveled to North Lake Park in Loveland to run in the Northern League meet, where they once again faced district foes Silver Creek and Longmont.

Niwot junior Kenny Lang placed seventh overall in the boys race, with a time of 16 minutes, 34 seconds, while senior Jenna McCaffrey extended her streak of top 10 finishes by snagging the third place medal in the girls race, with a time of 19:15.

Silver Creek was the winning team in the boys division, with 33 points, and the Raptors captured the top three individual spots as well. The Niwot boys placed fourth overall, with 89 points. Juniors Ethan Steiner (16:51) and Oskar Wells (16:53) both finished among the top 15, and sophomore Benjamin Bi (17:35) was 28th.

Led by second place finisher Riley Geldean (18:53), a freshman, Centaurus won the girls race, with 43 points. Niwot was fifth, with 105 points. Cougar freshman Joelle McDonald (20:32) finished just five seconds out of the top 15 overall, while her senior teammate Claire Gillett (20:40) finished 19th. Senior Courtney Smoljian (21:25), who is also a defensive specialist for the Niwot volleyball team, was 31st.

Last weekend, the Cougars headed out east to the Wiggins Cross Country Invitational, a 5K race with teams from the front range and eastern plains. Lang took first place overall in the boys race, with a winning time of 16 minutes, 21 seconds. It was Lang’s first win of the season, and his third top 10 finish. For Niwot, freshman Ben Klingbeil (18:59) finished in 35th place, followed by senior Jesse Falk (19:21) in 42nd, and freshman Ethan Jiang (19:46) in 50th. With 173 team points, Niwot finished the day in fifth place.

Meanwhile, led by Jenna McCaffrey’s second place time of 19:25, the girls finished third overall in their race, with 48 team points. McCaffrey was joined in the top ten by McDonald (20:21) and Claire Gillett (20:23), who finished sixth and seventh respectively. Smoljan, at 21:35, was 15th, and freshman Elise Gillett was 20th.

Up next for the Cougars is the Class 4A Region 3 meet, at Cherry Creek State Park on Oct. 20. The top finishers in this meet will qualify for the state championship meet, which will be held in Colorado Springs Oct. 29.

Northern League Cross Country Meet (Oct. 7)

Boys Team Scores — Silver Creek, 33; Centaurus, 69; Greeley Central, 70; Niwot, 89; Thompson Valley, 142; Mountain View, 161; Northridge, 173; Longmont, 197

Niwot Individuals — 7. Kenny Lang (Jr.), 16:34; 13. Ethan Steiner (Jr.), 16:51; 14. Oskar Wells (Jr.), 16:53; 27. Jack Volf (So.), 17:35; 28. Benjamin Bi (So.), 17:35; 33. Peter LeCavalier (Jr.), 17:56; 36. Tommy Stager (Sr.), 18:08; 37. Luke Robinson (Fr.), 18:09

Girls Team Scores — Centaurus, 43; Thompson Valley, 77; Mountain View, 77; Silver Creek, 87; Niwot, 105; Longmont, 124; Greeley Central, 176; Northridge, 241

Niwot Individuals — 3. Jenna McCaffrey (Sr.), 19:15; 16. Joelle McDonald (Fr.), 20:32; 19. Claire Gillett (Sr.), 20:40; 31. Courtney Smoljan (Sr.), 21:15; 36. Grace Martinson (Jr.), 21:46; 38. Elise Gillett (Fr.), 22:10; 40. Caitlin Hyers (Jr.), 22:23

Wiggins Cross Country Invitational (October 15)

Boys Team Scores —Palmer Ridge, 33; Peyton, 56; Denver North, 105; Valley, 162; Niwot, 173; Liberty Common, 189; Ridge View Academy, 193; Strasburg, 199; Yuma, 222; Byers, 269; John F. Kennedy, 283; Berthoud, 284; Clear Creek, 318

Niwot Individuals — 1. Kenny Lang (Jr.), 16:21; 35. Ben Klingbeil (Fr.), 18:59; 42. Jesse Falk (Sr.), 19:21; 50. Ethan Jiang (Fr.), 19:46; 78. Cole Toothaker (Fr.), 20:57; 87. Rayan Elahi (Fr.), 21:24; 93. Jason Fetters (Sr.), 22:45

Girls Team Scores — Denver North, 40; Palmer Ridge, 48; Niwot, 48; Peyton, 136; Clear Creek, 139; Strasburg, 141; Yuma, 164; John F. Kennedy, 174; Thomas Maclaren Charter School, 220

Niwot Individuals — 2. Jenna McCaffrey (Sr.), 19:25; 6. Joelle McDonald (Fr.), 20:21; 7. Claire Gillett (Sr.), 20:23; 15. Courtney Smoljan (Sr.), 21:35; 25. Elise Gillett (Fr.), 22:19


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