Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Cross Country: Niwot runners compete in regional meet


November 24, 2016

With barely time to catch their breath after the state championship meet late last month, several runners from the Niwot boys and girls cross country teams traveled to Casa Grande, AZ, for the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional on Nov. 19.

More than 2,500 runners from teams in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah competed in the meet, one of eight regional qualifying events for the Nike Cross National Championship coming up on Dec. 3 in Portland, Ore.

Colorado was well represented in the Championship division race, especially on the girls side. Colorado runners comprised three of the top five individuals, as well as three of the top five team finishers. Brie Oakley of Aurora’s Grandview High was the meet winner, with a time of 16 minutes 56 seconds, just 13 seconds off the all-time course record. Vista Nation (Highlands Ranch) was the top team, with 88 points, followed by girls 5A state girls champion Broomfield, which finished 3rd with 127 points.

Monarch High senior Isaac Green, the 2016 5A champion, was the top Colorado runner in the boys Championship race, finishing in 15:17, which was good for fifth place. Otherwise, Colorado boys were shutout of the qualifying spots in a race dominated by Utah runners.

Niwot runners competed in the Medium school division, against students from high schools with enrollment between 1,000 and 1,600 students. The Niwot girls, competing under the team name Real Training, finished fifth overall, just seven points behind the fourth-place team from Ogden, UT. Senior Jenna McCaffrey posted yet another top three finish, as her 18:50 was good for third place overall. Freshman Joelle McDonald was next for Niwot, finishing in 17th place, at 19:20. Senior Claire Gillette (19:40) was 25th, while junior Jeri Wilcox (20:18) was 62nd overall. Courtney Smoljian (21:34) and freshman Elise Gillette (21:35) finished 129th and 130th, respectively.

Meanwhile, freshman Cruz Culpepper, who was barred by CHSAA rules from competing for Niwot during the regular season, finished 20th overall in the boys Medium school division with a time of 16:41, leading the Cougars to an 11th-place overall team finish (out of 39 teams). Finishing just behind Culpepper was junior Ethan Steiner, whose 16:44 landed him in 22nd place. Junior Kenny Lang finished in 51st, with a time of 17:06, while Benjamin Bi (17:28) finished 98th, and Peter Lecavalier (17:48) was 139th.

Next up for the Niwot runners is a little bit of a break for Thanksgiving. But they will hit the track hard on Dec. 3, when the indoor training season begins.

Niwot Boys Individuals — 20. Cruz Culpepper (Fr.) 16:41; 22. Ethan Steiner (Jr.) 16:45; 51. Kenny Lang (Jr.) 17:06; 98. Benjamin Bi (So.) 17:28; 139. Peter LeCavalier (Jr.) 17:48; 197. Oskar Wells (Jr.) 18:27; 200. Jack Volf (So.) 18:30

Niwot Girls Individuals — 2. Jenna McCaffrey (Sr.) 18:50; 17. Joelle McDonald (Fr.) 19:21; 62. Jeri Wilcox (Jr.) 19:40; 25. Claire Gillett (Sr.) 20:18; 129. Courtney Smoljan (Sr.) 21:34; 130. Elise Gillett (Fr.) 21:36


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