October 25, 2014 @ Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, CO
Never count out the Fort Collins girls! They are back on top of Colorado after defeating US #8 Monarch (2nd) by 5 points and US #19 Cherry Creek (4th) in their state championship meet on Saturday as the Fort Collins girls were led by 5A race champ and US #11 ranked sophomore Lauren Gregory (18:55). After starting out the season as a top 10 nationally ranked pre-season squad with their great reputation of annually producing Colorado state champion and top 10 finishing squads at Nike Cross Nationals, their program looked it could be in for a tough down and rebuilding year taking several early and mid-season invitational losses to other top programs in their state including Monarch and Cherry Creek.
With their squad in a new underdog role for the state meet, the Fort Collins girls welcomed that title to motivate them to become champions averaging 20:21 on a very difficult Colorado state meet course in Colorado Springs compiling a team score of 113 points compared to another NXN top 10 squad from last year in Monarch with 118 points.
With Elise Cranny graduated, US #13 Katie Rainsberger of Air Academy won her first state title in the fastest time of day at 18:50 from the 4A race. While slower than her previous two state meet races attempting to challenge the current Stanford University star Cranny, Rainsberger won by a margin of 23 seconds ahead of a talented emerging sophomore in Kayla Young (19:03) of Denver North.
US #16 Paul Roberts posts the fastest boys time of the day in the 2A race with a 16:13, while US #18 Zachary Alharma struggled to finish in the 5A race to an ultimate 75th place finish. Roberts, who also helped his Lyon squad to the state team title, had virtually no competition around him in the small schools division race creating a 49 second gap between himself and the second place finisher. Alhamra hopes to bounce back from this weekend's struggles in a few weeks to qualify for another Nike Cross Nationals, which he was a top 25 finisher in last year's race in Portland, Oregon.
The 4A state champion Palmer Ridge boys had the fastest team of the meet on a not so fast course at a 17:19 average and 1:25 spread behind race champ Eric Hamer, who had the second best time at 16:17 behind only Roberts.
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