MESA, Ariz. -- This time around, Elise Cranny didn't have to pass Katie Rainsberger at the finish.
Cranny -- a Niwot junior who edged Air Academy's Rainsberger for the Class 4A state title last month -- rolled to the Nike Cross Southwest Regional crown at Toka Sticks Golf Course on Saturday in impressive fashion.
Cranny won in 16 minutes, 59.88 seconds -- a new meet record. As one of the top five individuals, she qualifies for the Dec. 1 Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore.
"I'm really excited for that," Cranny said. "I've just got to keep training for the next two weeks."
Cranny led a Colorado domination in the girls championship race Saturday.
She and Pine Creek's Heather Bates ran together at the front until about the 2-mile mark. That's when Cranny pulled away. Rainsberger overtook Bates for second in 17:11.29, while Bates was third in 17:18.70. Legacy's Emma Gee took eighth in 17:37.84.
"It makes me work even harder," Cranny said of setting a meet record at such a prestigious race while only a junior. "I just need to keep doing the same things and keep getting stronger so I can be even faster next year."
The top two teams also automatically qualified for Nike Cross Nationals, though no local teams made it into that category.
The Monarch girls were the highest local team finisher, taking seventh, while the Fairview boys were eighth.
Several local runners placed in the top 50 of the championship races. Lyons freshman Paul Roberts, who won the 2A boys state title last month, took 21st Saturday. Broomfield's Ethan Gonzales was 33rd. Fairview's Kyle Lund was 42nd. And Centaurus' Chandler Reid was 50th.
On the girls side, Monarch's Kaitlyn Benner took 26th. Boulder's Erin McLaughlin was 32nd. And Monarch's Claire Green was 40th.
Several locals also competed in the open division, where Lyons' Miriam Roberts was third on the girls side and Marcel Such fourth for the boys. Holy Family's Erich Hixson took third in the boys open race.
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