LAFAYETTE — Quinn McConnell is fast.

The rest of the state found that out last year when the Peak to Peak to freshman not only won the Class 3A state meet in Colorado Springs, but posted the sixth fastest time among all the girls at the demanding state course at the Norris-Penrose Events Center.

So the big question entering the 2016 season was what would she do for an encore?

If Saturday's performance around Waneka Lake Park at the Centaurus Invitational was any indication, then it appears the Pumas sophomore is right on track — pun intended — to pick up right where she left off and with a talented team at her side.

McConnell cruised to victory in a time of 18 minutes and 18 seconds, besting her teammate Anna Shults by 12 seconds.

"I try not to take anything for granted, and I knew there was a lot of competition in this race," said McConnell, who helped guide the Pumas to a second place team finish in a loaded field. "I was just excited for the challenge and I really wanted to work with all the other girls that were super fast."

Running with a lead pack that included Shults, Denver North's Kayla Young and Broomfield newcomer Madison Mooney (she transferred from Horizon), McConnell altered her strategy for the day and really started to push the pace at the one mile mark of the 3.1 mile race. It paid off and she was able to create some separation from the field.


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"I do have some really big goals towards the end of the season and these are kind of confidence builders as I go," McConnell said. "My plan for this race was to just relax. I wasn't going for a time or a place, I just wanted to test my fitness."

It was just the type of performance that Kim McConnell, Quinn's mother and coach, wanted to see from her young team in the first meet of the season.

"We never talk about places in meets, we just focus on every day being the best athletes we can be," said the elder McConnell, who also got a top-10 finish from Tiana Bradfield. "We let the results come as they are going to come."

Broomfield's girls were phenomenal and coach Greg Weich's team placed four in the top 10 — including Mooney, Katelyn Mitchem, Ivy Gonzales and Emily Mitchem — to win with 39 points to Peak to Peak's 62.

"You know how it is the first race, we are still trying to sort some things out, but that was a perfect first race, maybe even better than I thought," Weich said. "We had kind of a rough workout on Wednesday and I told them they were a little bit soft, so it was nice to be shut up by my kids today. They shut me up."

On the boys side, reigning 5A champion Isaac Green of Monarch and 4A champion Josh Norman went head-to-head and in a fast-paced dual and it was Norman — a senior at The Classical Academy — that won in 15 minutes and 39 seconds.

Green, who had not lost in-state cross country race since his sophomore year at state, finished in 15:50.

"He's fast and I just couldn't hang with him today. He did a hell of a job and he deserved that race today," said Green, whose Coyotes teammates Charlie Perry and Zach Litoff finished right behind him. "It's eye-opening for sure, but it is also incredible to see what our team did today.

"This season is all about our team and I am invested 100 percent. It sucks not to win, but when it really comes down to it when the team wins it's all good."

Greg Hibl also cracked the top 10 for Monarch, whose coach Kent Rieder could not have been more pleased.

"You've got to be at least five deep and you are hoping that you can get six or seven, and I think we will be," he said. "I'd like to close the gap between six and five right now, but it is a long season and we are where we want to be right now."

Jon Yunt: yuntj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/JonEYunt

CENTAURUS INVITATIONAL

At Waneka Lake Park

BOYS

Team scores — Monarch 30, Arvada West 95, The Classical Academy 126, Broomfield 142, Standley Lake 168, Palmer Ridge 173, Legend 174, Centaurus 218, Ralston Valley 241, Legacy 245, Elizabeth 318, Jefferson Academy 354, Erie 370, Peak to Peak 379, Faith Christian 389, Denver North 485, Denver East 496, Skyview 547, Bishop Machebeuf 553, Conifer 554, Prairie View 567, Northglenn 574, Gateway 646, Pomona 671, Stargate 733.

Top 10 individuals — 1. Tanner Norman, TCA, 15 minutes, 39 seconds; 2. Isaac Green, Monarch, 15:50; 3. Charlie Perry, Monarch, 16:16; 4. Zach Litoff, Monarch, 16:40; 5. Trevor Smith, Standley Lake, 16:40; 6. Justin Andrade, Arvada West, 16:45; 7. Greg Hibl, Monarch, 16:51; 8. David Fine, Elizabeth, 16:53; 9. Josh Schoep, Broomfield, 16:57; 10. Colin Berndt, Arvada West, 16:58

Other Monarch results — 14. William Dixon 17:16, 40. Paxton Hansburg 18:02, 44. Brandon Wallace 18:14.

Other Broomfield results — 16. Joseph Carwin 17:17, 25. Caelan Denley 17:33, 35. Shane Kaiser 17:58, 57. Hayden VandePol 18:28, 65. Kip Mielke 18:47, 75. Asher Walker 18:55.

Centaurus results — 18. Cooper Brown 17:22, 36. Alex Hooten 17:59, 39. John O'Malley 18:00, 59. Kyle Piper 18:32, 66. Henry Bowman 18:47, 74. David McGill 18:55, 122. Noah Llerandi 20:31.

Legacy results — 30. Mark McNabb 17:49, 45. Anthony Von Colln 18:14, 48. Dylan Haines 18:18, 55. Antonio Tabangay 18:25, 67. Jacob Sargent 18:48, 69. Anders Haugen 18:49, 105. Parker Lee 19:57.

Jefferson Academy results — 19. Ryan Lehmuth 17:23, 20. Christian Van Cleave 17:26, 101. Nathan Moore 19:52, 107. Paul Watters 20:02, 116. James Winder 20:24, 128. Aaron Rog 20:39, 134. Alex Duffy 20:44.

Erie results — 33. Jamison Cartwright 17:56, 58. Luke Simeon 18:31, 87. Cooper Hinman 19:23, 99. Zane Cire 19:49, 100. Tyler Larson 19:49, 104. Ryan Peng 19:53, 118. John Sexton 20:27.

Peak to Peak results — 15. Brandon Ries 17:16, 83. Cole Beasley 19:06, 84. Ethan Monarski 19:13, 91. William Ledden 19:33, 113. William Alexander 20:12, 140. Jay Kang 21:08.

GIRLS

Team scores — Broomfield 39, Peak to Peak 62, Monarch 92, Arvada West 149, Centaurus 151, Palmer Ridge 164, Standley Lake 188, Legacy 242, Denver North 263, Erie 329, Conifer 338, Legend 345, Prairie View 383, Skyview 457, Brush 486, Pomona 501, Jefferson Academy 514, Bishop Machebeuf 559.

Top 10 individuals — 1. Quinn McConnell, Peak to Peak, 18 minutes, 18 seconds; 2. Anna Shults, Peak to Peak, 18:30; 3. Kayla Young, Denver North, 18:32; 4. Madison Mooney, Broomfield, 18:33; 5. Katelyn Mitchem, Broomfield, 19:08; 6. Tiana Bradfield, Peak to Peak, 19:16; 7. Ivy Gonzales, Broomfield, 19:24; 8. Riley Geldean, Centaurus, 19:31; 9. Civianna Gallegos, Arvada West, 19:36; 10. Emily Mitchem, Broomfield, 19:36.

Other Broomfield results — 14. Vanessa Kort 19:40, 15. Lauren Thompson 19:40, 46. Eliza Hale 21:12.

Other Peak to Peak results — 25. Elle Triem 20:34, 32. Rachael Metzler 20:52, 40. Jillian Ries 21:05, 54. Jenna Howard 21:45.

Monarch results — 12. Liz Hogan 19:39, 17. Audrey Lookner 19:59, 19. Hailey Leader 20:29, 24. Samantha Wexler 20:33, 27. Anna Wexler 20:45, 30. Abby Hein 20:50, 34. Brooke Forsythe 20:59.

Other Centaurus results — 26. Helen Gover 20:42, 31. Sabrina Stern 20:51, 37. Katie Hooten 21:02, 61. Brooke Calvo 22:04, 66. Allison MacDonald 22:18, 84. Meghan Davinroy 23:13.

Legacy results — 13. Brynn Siles 19:39, 56. Cheney Singer 21:50, 60. Abby Jones 22:02, 67. Madison Milbourn 22:25, 73. Maddi Stevens 22:43, 86. Bryce Baca 23:18, 93. Isabelle Row 23:32.

Erie results — 39. Emily Condon 21:05, 51. Alia Brand 21:37, 85. Kaelin Hawkins 23:17, 87. Audrey Joseph 23:19, 95. Cassidy True 23:37, 110. Kristin Green 24:49, 134. Rylin Brett 27:50.

Jefferson Academy results — 91. Rachel Schlagel 23:24, 94. Bridget Lynch 23:35, 119. Miranda Reisdorf 25:23, 127. Elizabeth Munson 26:13, 133. Caitlyn Martinez 27:21, 136. Kara Dobbs 28:30.