ARVADA -- In conditions better suited to kite flying or wind surfing, one runner and his team sailed to the top.
Cutting through Wednesday's blustery conditions at the North Area Athletic Complex, Kyle Lund led Fairview boys cross country to two titles. The Knights senior came up with the Region 3's individual title, also leading Fairview to the team championship.
And while the Lund and Knights made it appear easy, swamping the finish line like a crashing red wave, the sub-par conditions on the hilly course made the race anything but a walk in the park, the senior said.
"Coming up that (final) hill with the headwind, it was hard," said Lund, who clocked in at 17 minutes, 26 seconds. "It felt awful."
Despite the slow times on the course, Lund and the Knights could not have been happier about their finish. Short a runner -- Rich Sanchez, who was injured -- the team still dominated the championship. The team's top six runners all finished in the top 20.
The finish, Lund believes, took the Knights one step closer their lofty goals for the Oct. 27 state meet at Colorado Springs' Norris Penrose Event Center. With five seniors on the roster, the Knights' top runner believes this is the season for his team to make the jump from its fourth place finish last year to the top of 5A.
"We still feel it's our year (to win state)," Lund said. "We need to have everybody run their best race and we need to get lucky to do it, though."
Fairview highlighted the boys finish, but two other local boys teams ran into state-qualification berths.
Monarch claimed fourth place as a team, led by Parker Sitton's 10th-place finish. And Boulder came in second with both Kyle Lewis and Satchel Caldwell breaking into the top 10. Lewis placed fifth with a time of 17:37 and Caldwell sixth clocking in at 17:39. The Panthers were buoyed by claiming second, given they were a man short entering the race.
"Max Worthy got into a pretty serious bike accident this week," Lewis said. "He got pretty banged up, but nothing serious. He should be able to run state."
The girls' side of the regional was loaded with a slew of individual talent, but a familiar team rose to the top. Monarch defended its regional title with the Coyotes pack as tight as ever. Only 34 seconds separated Monarch lead runner Claire Green, and its last scoring runner, Taylor Floming.
"The pack is our biggest asset right now," said Green, who finished seventh with a time of 20:15. "All our girls are close right now, more so than any other team in the state. That's really going to help against some tough competition."
The Coyotes have their work cut out in defending their state title. Fort Collins and Pine Creek have come on this season and aim to pressure the queens of the course. But Green is certain the Coyotes have the motivation to leave other teams howling.
"Winning state is such an honor, especially in the third-fastest state in the nation," she said. "Since last year, it been our motivation to get back to where we were."
The individual girls title went to Melanie Nun, with the Legacy senior having found an extra gear in recent weeks. Nun recorded the state's fourth-fastest time in the state at Friday's Front Range League championship, but was well off it in the regional's rough conditions.
"This was one of the toughest days I've had to personally run through," said Nun, who clocked in at 19:31. "The wind didn't feel bad to start, but it was brutal."
Nun's teammate, Emma Gee, was hot on her heels for second. After her, it was a race between Fairview's and Boulder's top runners. The Knights' Isabelle Kennedy ended up getting the better of the finish, recording a time off 19:41. But the Panthers' Erin McLaughlin was only 9 seconds off of her.
Fairview took second and Boulder third to qualify their full teams for state.
"I'm feeling pretty good and strong," Kennedy said. "I think I've got a good shot (at state)."
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CLASS 5A REGION 3 CROSS COUNTRY
At North Area Athletic Complex
Team scores -- Fairview 31, Boulder 62, Pomona 62, Monarch 78, ThunderRidge 155, Lakewood 182, Greeley West 226, Legacy 227, Ralston Valley 256, Rangeview 294, Hinkley 319, George Washington 323.
Top 10 individuals -- 1. Kyle Lund, Fairview, 17:26; 2. Cory Munsch, Fairview, 17:28; 3. Marcelo Laguera, Pomona, 17:30; 4. Bridger Tomlin, Fairview, 17:33; 5. Kyle Lewis, Boulder, 17:37; 6. Satchel Caldwell, Boulder, 17:39; 7. Jon May, Pomona, 17:51; 8. Tim Brown, Fairview, 17:58; 9. Paul Moore, ThunderRidge, 18:03; 10. Parker Sitton, Monarch, 18:06.
Other Fairview results -- 16. Zach Swenso, 18:24; 19. Scott Davids, 18:30; 33. Hal Schultz, 18:58; 44. John Leonard, 19:16; 50. Nate Gilbert, 19:28;
Other Boulder results -- 13. Dylan Moore, 18:17; 18. Torin McDonald, 18:29; 20. Naataanii Todea, 18:31; 25. Sam Long, 18:37; 32. Brian Long, 18:58; 46. Nelson Hegg, 19:19; 55. Evan Westman, 19:35; .
Other Monarch results -- 14. Chay Weaver, 18:17; 15. Matt Tubbs, 18:21; 17. Daniel McComas, 18:25; 22. Mehmed Erkocevic, 18:33; 26. Kingston Wagner, 18:38; 27. Ben Hogan, 18:40; 36. Shaofan Sun, 19:04; .
Legacy results -- 28. Daniel Diaz, 18:40; 37. Chris Carroll, 19:05; 56. Eddie DeCrescenzo, 19:38; 64. Cory Vanduyne, 20:01; 65.Nick Gonzales, 20:10; 82. Mitco Petrov, 20:59; 85. Andrew Otterson, 21:04.
Team scores -- Monarch 55, Fairview 97, Boulder 119, Ralston Valley 124, ThunderRidge 140, Lakewood 155, Pomona 173, Legacy 185, Greeley West 190, George Washington 247, Rangeview 339, Hinkley 353.
Top 10 individuals -- 1. Melanie Nun, Legacy, 19:31; 2. Emma Gee, Legacy, 19:39; 3. Isabelle Kennedy, Fairview, 19:41; 4. Erin McLaughlin, Boulder, 19:50; 5. Nicole Hahn, Ralston Valley, 19:54; 6. Alaina Anderson, Pomona, 19:58; 7. Claire Green, Monarch, 20:15; 8. Maddie Ivy, Lakewood, 20:17; 9. Kaitlyn Benner, Monarch, 20:20; 10. Olivia Hayden, Lakewood.
Other Monarch results -- 9. Kaitlyn Benner, 20:20;12. Karina Mann, 20:36; 13. Anna Hogan, 20:41, Taylor Floming, 20:49; 15. Elissa Mann, 20:50; 18. Alyssa Reese, 21:01; 21. Ashley Litoff, 21:07; 43. Stephanie Teisser, 22:18.
Other Fairview results -- 17. McKenna Payes, 20:58; 20. Emma Sanchez, 21:04; 22. Emily Barnes, 21:12; Kelly Gilbert 21:52; 38. Heather Harrower, 21:54; 40. Carys McAulay, 22:05; 41. Kate Cuddington, 22:08; 47. Margot Clyn, 22:27.
Other Boulder results -- 19. Madi Lohman, 21:02; 30. Amanda Worthy, 21:30; 33. Erin Davidson, 21:35; 36. Eva Oakes, 21:44; 39. Emma Merryman, 21:56; 50. Rachel Roderick, 22:35; 51. Jessie McLaughlin, 22:37; 55. Tasmin De Reuck, 22:46.
Other Legacy results -- 64. Devyn Palm-Trujillo, 23:22; 66. Kristyn Fudge, 23:27; 78. Peyton Smith, 24:19; 79. ritika Reddy, 24:36; 84. Anica Brewster, 24:52; 86. Logan Sandman, 24:57; Allison Condon, 26:09;