COLORADO SPRINGS — Reclassification of some teams on the lower school levels of cross country certainly played into some of the outcomes at the Norris Penrose Events Center on Saturday afternoon.
While Tanner Norman of The Classical Academy took the Class 3A boys individual race after winning 4A last year — Monarch's Isaac Green was the only other defending champion to win a second time on Saturday — the Jefferson Academy duo of Ryan Lehmuth and Christian Van Cleave represented the best of what Boulder County area programs had to offer with top 10 finishes.
In 2A, Lyons' Isaac Roberts also placed seventh as the Lyons took second as a team — a sign of a new wave or talent for coach Mark Roberts' team.
Lehmuth represented BoCo's highest returning finisher in the 3A classification from 2015, where he finished 29th. Hotter temperatures this time around only made Lehmuth's personal accomplishment that much more gratifying.
"One of the things that we noticed before the race was that it was really dusty, so I made it a point to get to where I wanted to be pretty early," Lehmuth, a junior, said. "I tried to put myself in the first three or four in the first mile. I just had to hold on a little bit.
"I feel like we've got a shared vision with the coaches of having a very strong team in the future, even the next two years with this team."
Van Cleave also couldn't have been more proud of his finish as a senior captain. He may have raced his last race, but the team has several underclassmen who he figures will help the program rise up in the future.
"State is pretty unforgiving, that's for sure. I definitely had to tell myself to just push through it, and I'm stronger than I think I am most times," Van Cleave said after coming in with a time of 16:55.39. "I was just thinking about chasing Ryan most of the time, actually, and came through on that."
Holy Family and Peak to Peak also had their entire teams in the 3A field, and the Tigers placed 11th overall after dropping down from 4A. A 24th-place finish from Kyle McCabe paced Holy Family, while Peak to Peak — who dedicated the season to their fallen teammate Brandon Ries — placed 15th overall as their top four runners crossed the finish line almost simultaneously.
Lyons was unseated as the 2A boys champs after four straight titles thanks to former 3A team The Vanguard School, but the Lions also had three juniors, one sophomore and one freshman running on Saturday.
Roberts, the freshman, was part of a pack of six runners that sprinted together to the finish line battling for the third-through-eighth positions; Sophomore Colton Jonjak-Plahn finished 14th; and Field Soosloff was 17th.
"Vangaurd raced a great race today," Roberts said. "But we have just one senior who we're going to miss and the rest of us are coming back. I think we are all excited about we can do. We have a lot of expectations to fulfill, so it should be good."
Shining Mountain's Max Saliman placed 23rd, while Dawson School was led by Andrew Lanham in 42nd place.