COLORADO SPRINGS — Broomfield's Sydney Swanker thought she had missed her goal Saturday of squeezing inside the top-10 in the Class 5A girls race at the Norris Penrose Event Center. Perhaps, getting the back of her shoe stepped on in the opening meters was a perilous omen of things to come.

Turns out, the shoe fit.

Swanker was informed moments after crossing the finish line she indeed took eighth. Her time of 18:50 was 13 seconds better than her state result from last year when she finished 22nd.

"I had no idea where I was," Swanker grinned. "Once I checked, I was really happy."

Swanker was the lone returning state runner for the Eagles after their second-place finish in 2017. Thrust into the lead role, Swanker said what she thought would be a difficult transition turned out better than she'd imagined.

Nederland’s Helen Cross keeps pace with Lyons’s Katie Fankhouser (left) and Quin Gregg (center) during their Class 2A state cross country race
Nederland's Helen Cross keeps pace with Lyons's Katie Fankhouser (left) and Quin Gregg (center) during their Class 2A state cross country race on Saturday at Norris Penrose Event Center. Cross finished fourth overall. (Isaiah J. Downing / FOR THE DAILY CAMERA)

"I had a lot of great teammates behind me," Swanker said. "It was easy with their support."

Broomfield finished sixth. Monarch was fifth on the strength of Anna Wexler's 27th-place finish. Fairview was led by Marlena Preigh and took seventh, and Boulder, led by Stella Vieth, was 10th.

In 5A boys, Fairview climbed up from last year's 14th-place finish to claim fifth. Brock Granberg, Henry Murphy and Anders Cote each finished within moments of each other to place 39th, 41st and 42nd, respectively. Between them was Avery Conaghan in 40th for Monarch, which took 13th. Lukas Haug took 18th to lead Boulder to a 16th-place finish.

A freaky finish — no, but Cross still happy to get back on the podium


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Helen Cross said her state title last year came in a "freak time" for her. The Nederland junior admitted that she didn't expect to win it again this year — although she didn't miss it by much.

A year after she won 2A in 18 minutes and 52 seconds, Cross finished fourth on Saturday in 20 minutes and 17 seconds.

"Freshman year I got 11th, so I just missed the podium," Cross said. "So, for me now, any time I get on the podium it's an accomplishment. Last year I just accepted that it probably wasn't going to happen again because it was just like a freak time for me."

Timberwolves making a tradition of state

Twin Peaks Charter's boys program has quickly become the talk of the school after sending full teams to state in back-to-back years, and the Timberwolves increased their influence in the 2A race yet again in 2018 with an 11th place standing.

Still a relatively new school as far as CHSAA competition, Twin Peaks scored 114 points and were led by two sophomores and a freshman among their top four runners. Sophomores Andy Hernandez and John Morkunas crossed the finish line simultaneously in 18:45 (34th and 35th in 2A) while Aaron Jenkins started his career strong in going 20:14.

Senior Garrett Provow's sub-20 minute time helped TPCS edge Golden View Classical and actually tie Rye in points.

Fulkerson continues to build

Dawson School's Lucca Fulkerson finished fourth as a freshman in 2A last year, quickly putting her on the map of the small school elite. After a fifth place finish on Saturday in which she was leading one mile in, Fulkerson continues to build confidence that things will all fall in place soon.

Dawson School sophomore Lucca Fulkerson finished fifth overall Saturday at the Class 2A state cross country meet in Colorado Springs.
Dawson School sophomore Lucca Fulkerson finished fifth overall Saturday at the Class 2A state cross country meet in Colorado Springs. (Isaiah J. Downing / FOR THE DAILY CAMERA)

Fulkerson finished in 20:24, capping a fantastic season overall.

"All you can do is try to be better than the year before," Fulkerson said after receiving medical attention. "That was my goal, and my season has been."

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