Running in the Pat Patten Invitational on Friday afternoon in Boulder took on a completely different meaning than perhaps anyone thought it would have eight days ago.
Always a favorite for most of the Boulder County teams and a meet known for bringing good competition because of its terrain around Viele Lake, there is no doubt that many running in the 2016 version of the race had the Peak to Peak team and the late Brandon Ries on their minds.
Many chose to openly support the Pumas and Ries — who died following last Friday's Broomfield Invitational after collapsing during the meet — with blue colors and Puma paw stamps on their faces or shoulders. For others, it was just an inward inspiration to cross the finish line in remembrance of the senior, whose memorial service took place earlier Friday morning in Erie. Peak to Peak was originally registered to attend the meet.
"We ran with a purpose today," Monarch's Audrey Lookner said. "It was really a wake-up call for us as a team because we went to a high altitude running camp with Brandon, and it was just a really big shock for us to hear when it happened.
"It's one of those things, you have to learn to appreciate every day because it could be your last. We are keeping Brandon in our prayers, and our hearts are with the team, too."
Lookner was proud to be wearing a blue unmarked tank top as she crossed the finish line first in the girl's varsity race, coming in with a time of 19 minutes, 9 seconds and 17 seconds ahead of Thompson Valley's Kenadi Kreuger who was in second place.
With teammates Hailey Leader (sixth), Liz Hogan (13th) and Anna Wexler (14th) all finishing among the leaders, the Coyotes ended up taking first place as a team — slightly ahead of Fairview and Boulder, respectively.
Viele Lake presented runners with a multitude of surfaces to conquer, not to mention going up the hill along Knox Drive twice. The final 200 meters was a straight downhill run, one which saw Lookner all alone from top to bottom.
"In the first mile, I came in a little fast and that worried me the rest of the race, but with all the training we've done, it was nice that it paid off," Lookner said, adding the Coyotes do a hill run pretty much every day in training.
Centaurus' Riley Geldean, a freshman, finished third to add to her impressive start in the prep ranks. A multiple-time age group winner at the Bolder Boulder, Geldean finished in 19:32 to edge Boulder's Claudia Burgess. The Panthers had Lauren Neugeboren and Anna Tenorio as top-10 finishers, as well.
"I feel pretty good, even though I was nervous at the start because we had a tough workout we did on Wednesday, but I focused on relaxing," Geldean said. "On the far side of the lake people were slowing down a little bit and I was determined to pass them. I just kept surging on.
"It's really good to run with a team, and it keeps me motivated to go hard."
While MoHi's Isaac Green took another step in his journey towards a possible state title defense (finishing in 16:22), the boy's team race between Monarch and Silver Creek was pretty impressive.
The Coyotes' five scoring runners all finished within the first 18 places — Charlie Perry was fourth and Zach Litoff sixth — to give MoHi the team championship, yet the 4A Raptors weren't far behind with its five scorers finishing in the top 22.
Brock Dykema placed fifth with a time of 16:54, and teammates James Lee (seventh) and Logan Simington (10th) rounded out a strong showing.
"This is a good race because you get a little bit of everything," Dykema said. "We took a rest week last week and we came back to this one, but it was big because it was the first race for our transfer Logan (who came from Thompson Valley). It was nice to run with him."
Boulder's Gage Hornung finished ninth as the top male finisher for BHS, and Fairview's Greg Lund placed 13th.
The Knights girls were led by Isabella Bowland, who placed eighth.
Pat Patten Invite
At Veile Lake Park
Team scores — Monarch 43, Silver Creek 61, Boulder 88, Fossil Ridge 118, Fairview 127, Centaurus 137, Niwot 164, Denver East 169.
Top 15 individuals — 1. Isaac Green, Monarch, 16:22; 2. Harrison Scudamore, Denver East, 16:29; 3. Dylan Ko, Fossil Ridge, 16:42; 4. Charlie Perry, Monarch, 16:47; 5. Brock Dykema, Silver Creek, 16:54; 6. Zach Litoff, Monarch, 17:01; 7. James Lee, Silver Creek, 17:05; 8. Blake Hubert, Fossil Ridge, 17:07; 9. Gage Hornung, Boulder, 17:09; 10. Logan Simington, Silver Creek, 17:11; 11. Luke Zacharias, Boulder, 17:12; 12. John O'Malley, Centaurus, 17:16; 13. Greg Lund, Fairview, 17:20; 14. Greg Hibl, Monarch, 17:21; 15. Kenny Lang, Niwot, 17:24.
Team scores — Monarch 55, Fairview 77, Boulder 90, Fossil Ridge 95, Centaurus 114, Niwot 155, Thompson Valley 165, Denver East 168, Silver Creek 272.
Top 10 individuals — 1. Audrey Lookner, Monarch, 19:09; 2. Kenadi Krueger, Thompson Valley, 19:26; 3. Riley Geldean, Centaurus, 19:32; 4. Claudia Burgess, Boulder, 19:49; 5. Sydney Teslow, Fossil Ridge, 20:00; 6. Hailey Leader, Monarch, 20:06; 7. Jenna McCaffrey, Niwot, 20:09; 8. Isabella Bowland, Fairview, 20:11; 9. Lauren Neugeboren, Boulder, 20:14; 10. Anna Tenorio, Boulder, 20:23; 11. Billie Fogarty, Fossil Ridge, 20:28; 12. Helen Gover, Centaurus, 20:31; 13. Liz Hogan, Monarch, 20:31; 14. Anna Wexler, Monarch, 20:38; 15. Sarah King, Fairview, 20:39.