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Cross Country: Niwot wraps up regular season with strong showing in Wiggins


October 20, 2017

Since their breakout performances in Arizona last month, the Niwot cross country teams have been gearing up for the postseason, which kicks off this week with the Class 4A Region 3 meet at Lyons High on Thursday.  The top four teams in that race will advance to the state meet later this month in Colorado Springs.

“We’re not going to make a big deal out of beating anyone and everyone,” said Niwot head coach Kelly Christensen of his team’s mindset heading into the regional qualifier, where the Cougars will be up against Northern League rival Centaurus. “We’re going to save that emotional energy for one more week.”

Since their Arizona meet, Niwot’s varsity runners have been easing off their competitive schedule, with just two events this month.  On Oct. 6, the Cougars competed in the Northern League championships in Loveland, but without a number of their top runners. Maggie Smith finished fifth overall in the girls race with a time of 18 minutes 52 seconds, and Jeri Wilcox (19:39) was ninth, leading the Cougars to a third-place finish behind Silver Creek and Centaurus. Samrawit Dishon (20:23) took 18th place with her season-best time, while Mallory Finley (20:44) was 25th and Kiera Flanagan (20:46)  was 26th.

In the boys race, junior Ares Reading led the Cougars to another third-place team finish with a season-best time of 15:46 that was good for eighth place.  Behind him was Ethan Steiner (15:59) in 12th, Jack Volf (16:33) in 18th, Caleb Bishop (16:55) in 22nd and Peter LeCavalier (17:11) in 26th.

Niwot’s final meet of the regular season was the windy Wiggins Invitational on Oct. 14.  There a few varsity runners got a chance for a last-minute tune-up before the regional, and the JV squad runners got one last chance for a PR this season.

Led by senior Kenny Lang, who has been limited in competition so far this season, the Niwot boys had four of the race’s top ten finishers and easily secured first place in the team competition with 30 points. Lang finished second overall with a time of 16:43, his fastest time so far this year.  Right on his heels were Kamran Elahi (16:58) in third, Bishop (17:05) in fifth, and LeCavalier (17:06) in sixth.

In the girls’ race, Dishon (20:59) paced the Cougars with a tenth-place finish, followed by Eva Lennert (21:22) in 13th, Sophie Grant (22:06) in 23rd, and Kayla Nowlin (22:46) in 33rd.  The girls took third place in the team standings, with 102 points.

Notably absent from competition since Arizona are sophomore Cruz Culpepper for the boys and freshman Taylor James for the girls.  Christensen said that both are easing up ahead of the post-season and will be rested and ready for regionals.

“I’ve learned with Cruz that less is more,” Christensen said of his sophomore star.  “He’s a very, very talented kid, and he’s has an ability to go pretty deep in the well when he races or workouts.  I’ve been trying my hardest to pull the reins back, because if he has fresher legs, he can tell his body to do some things that most people can’t.”

Overall, Christensen is happy with his team’s physical and mental status going into Thursday’s regional meet, and said he isn’t hoping for anything besides a state berth in Lyons. In 2016, a surprisingly good finish at the regional didn’t translate to much success in Colorado Springs.

“We’ve got a plan that should set us up to win, but that isn’t going to be our focus,” he said. “Our focus is going to be one hundred percent state this year.”

10/6 — Northern League Championships, North Lake Park, Loveland

Niwot Individuals (boys) — 8. Ares Reading (Jr.), 15:46;  2. Ethan Steiner (Sr.), 15:59; 18. Jack Volf (Jr.), 16:33; 22. Caleb (So.), 16:55; 26. Peter LeCavalier (Sr.), 17:11; 27. Kamran Elahi (Sr.), 17:15; 33. Luke Robinson (So.), 17:30

Niwot Individuals (girls) — 5. Maggie Smith (Jr.), 18:52; 9. Jeri Wilcox (Sr.), 19:39; 18. Samrawit Dishon (So.), 20:23; 25. Mallory Finley (Jr.), 20:44; 26. Kiera Flanagan (Fr.), 20:46; 33. Elise Gillett (So.), 21:04; 34. Eva Lennert (Fr.), 21:18

10/14 — Wiggins Invitational, Wiggins, CO

Niwot Individuals (boys) 2. Kenny Lang (Sr.) 16:43; 3. Kamran Elahi (Sr.) 16:58; 5. Caleb Bishop (So.) 17:05; 6. Peter LeCavalier (Sr.) 17:06; 15. Luke Robinson (So.) 17:45; 22. Ben Klingbeil (So.) 18:01; 25. Ethan Jiang (So.) 18:05

Niwot Individuals (girls) — 10. Samrawit Dishon (So.)  20:59; 13. Eva Lennert (Fr.) 21:22; 23. Sophia Grant 22:06 (Sr.); 33. Kayla Nowlin (Jr.) 22:46; 42. Mary McLean (So.) 23:09; 44. Violet Urffer (Fr.) 23:20; 50. Mary Gillett (Sr.) 23:44



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