COLORADO SPRINGS — It didn't come easy on a hot Saturday at Norris Penrose Events Center but the Broomfield girls held their position at the top of Colorado cross country's 5A classification.
Placing two runners in the top four and five in the top 24, the Eagles put together a team score of 55 to edge state championship rival Mountain Vista by seven points. The Eagles, who finished the high school season ranked 20th in the nation by Milesplit.com, attacked the season with a methodical team approach that few teams in Colorado could hope to rival and felt good about their chances of repeating as state champions.
Still, nothing was promised and on Saturday the Eagles made good on their championship potential.
"We just tried really hard to have a good pack time," Eagles junior Ivy Gonzales said. "We've worked on that all year and we just all worked together. We knew we had a good chance but it would be close between us and Vista. But everything we've done is for this and we just wanted to trust our training and go for it.
"It feels great to have two state championships now and I'm glad we get to share that as a team."
Gonzales led the Eagles, placing third in 18 minutes 55.93 seconds. Junior Madison Mooney, who transferred to Broomfield this season from Horizon, finished fourth in 19:05.04. Junior Laura Thompson was the third Broomfield runner to finish, placing 16th in 9:27.75.
Junior Katelyn Mitchem placed 19th in 19:31.90 and junior Emily Mitchem, who placed ninth at last year's state meet, rounded out the Eagles' team score with a time of 19:50.61 and 24th place.
"We knew that Lauren Gregory and Brie Oakley were going to be way ahead of the rest of us," Mooney said. "I knew I just had to stay in that chase pack behind them and stick with them through the whole race. Halfway through the race, Ivy just totally took control of that second pack of girls and went for it. From then I just tried to stay within distance of Ivy and try to score high for my team. We had all seven girls going all out because every spot counted."
Grandview senior Brie Oakley won Saturday's race in a course record-setting time of 17:07.83, beating three-time defending champion Lauren Gregory (18:32.72) from Fort Collins by over a minute.
The Eagles will graduate only one member of their seven-runner state team at the end of this school year.
For the Legacy Lightning, it was freshman Brynn Siles who led the team. In her first state meet, Siles cracked the top 10 in seventh place and recorded a time of 19:08.78. Senior Holly Bent placed 13th in 19:19.46 to lead the Monarch, who finished third in the team scoring.
Junior Claudia Burgess was Boulder's top finisher, placing 15th in 19:26.04 for the 10th-place Panthers. Isabella Bowland led Fairview, placing 21st in 19:35.03 to help her team place 11th.