BROOMFIELD — It may have been hot and hazy at the Legacy Rust Buster on Friday afternoon, but plenty of local teams and individuals were honed in and focused for the opening race of their 2018-19 prep seasons.
For Legacy and Erie, specifically, exploring depth was what the coaches wanted at the Broomfield Commons, and the challenge of having stacked Palmer Ridge in both boys and girls races presented an unquestionably solid litmus test.
Yes, the Bears thoroughly dominated overall — but the Lightning and Tigers showed signs in both genders that they were ahead of the curve after summer workouts. Defending 2A girls team champion Nederland also showed strong in the midst of some big-school competition.
Behind Abby Jones and two other top-10 finishers, and without the services of top runner Brynn Siles, the Lightning girls finished second while Erie and Nederland finished third and fourth as teams, respectively. On the boys side, Erie and Legacy flip-flopped with the Tigers coming in second and the host Lightning third.
On a course Legacy athletes have ran consistently, Jones and Ryan Montera each placed second individually. Jones is perhaps expected to be the Lightning's number two runner this season, and Friday was the start she was looking for. As for Montera, his outpouring of energy was team-oriented.
"I trained really hard this summer in order to get to where I am now," Jones said after coming in with a time of 19 minutes, 36 seconds. "It wasn't the fastest race I've ever done, so I want to keep improving to hopefully set some new personal bests in the future and be the best runner I can be. I'm proud of my teammates, though, and hopefully we can keep on getting up there (in the standings)."
"I think our guys really knew when to push out there, so that was good, and I think a lot of the day was self-confidence and believing in yourself," Montera added, his time in the boys race a swift 16:42. "The message for the team was, be the best you can be today, and I feel like we executed that overall."
The Lightning girls got a boost from Mia Mraz and Katie Kinch, with Mraz's time of 21:28 good for eighth and a dazzling debut for the freshman. All seven of Legacy's top girls finished in the top 27.
Montera's finish was complemented by eight other teammates to finish among the top 35 boys (the Lightning's five scorers placed top-27).
Erie had a top-five finisher in both genders, as well, with Emily Condon placing fourth (20:44) and Jamison Cartwright finishing third (16:55). Interestingly, the reactions to their finishes were quite a bit different.
Condon was happy to be back to the sport she loves, but the time (20:44) was not what she was hoping for. Cartwright, who also is a drum major for the marching band this year, said the top-three finish (16:55) built plenty of excitement for future possibilities.
"It was nice to finally get to cross country, because for me it's more fun than track," Condon said. "I was hoping for under 20 today, but it was still good. I do consider the overall finish, but I just would have liked it to have been a little faster."
"Definitely a good start to the season, and I was ready for this race to get out and prove myself to everyone," Cartwright said. "I was just looking to keep moving up ... and breaking 17 was something was looking to do. This year I am just feeling more confident for this whole season."
The Tigers also had a couple of solid debuts, as freshman Ashley Edwards was 12th on the girls side (22:11) and Luke Fritsche was 15th in boys (18:41).
Helen Cross of Nederland, the 2A individual champion from 2017, placed 11th with a time of 22:02.
Palmer Ridge's Brandon Hippe and Isabella Prosceno — the latter just a sophomore — won Friday's races.
Legacy Rust Buster
At Broomfield Commons and Open Space
Team scores — Palmer Ridge 25, Erie 71, Legacy 82, Stargate 88, Clear Creek 143, Northglenn 169, Frederick 171, Sterling 226, Weld Central 0, Vista Peak, 0, Nederland 0, Regis Goff Co-op 0.
Top 10 individuals — 1. Brandon Hippe, Palmer Ridge, 16:22; 2. Ryan Montera, Legacy, 16:42; 3. Jamison Cartwright, Erie, 16:55; 4. Logan Bocovich, Palmer Ridge, 17:03; 5. Andrew Bluemel, Palmer Ridge, 17:26; 6. James Jessep, Stargate, 17:42; 7. Hans Larsen, Palmer Ridge, 18:01; 8. Samuel Ndahayo, Palmer Ridge, 18:09; 9. Julio Ramos Gomez, Northglenn, 18:23; 10. Scott Enriquez, Stargate, 18:28.
Erie Results — Cartwright 16:55, Alexander Walker 18:37, Luke Fritsche 18:41, Timothy Fritsche 19:13, Adam Garcia 19:44.
Frederick results — Riley McNeill 20:34, Christopher Haley 21:01, Cody Couser 21:02, Chase Svela 21:08, Brayden Cardoso 21:14.
Legacy results — Ryan Montera 16:42, Nathan Siles 19:26, Preston Nash 19:31, AJ James 19:35, Michael Vrlenich 19:47.
Nederland results — Adam Figgins 23:01, Hakan Chunton 26:56.
Team scores — Palmer Ridge 22, Legacy 50, Erie 68, Nederland 151, Vista Peak 166, Stargate 166, Sterling 172, Clear Creek 188, Weld Central 0, Frederick 0, Regis Goff co-op 0, Northglenn 0.
Top 10 individuals — 1. Isabella Prosceno, Palmer Ridge, 19:36; 2. Abby Jones, Legacy, 19:49; 3. Maren Busath, Palmer Ridge, 20:19; 4. Emily Condon, Erie, 20:44; 5. Katie Wotta, Palmer Ridge, 21:11; 6. Emily Gentry, Palmer Ridge, 21:20; 7. Riley Colby, Palmer Ridge, 21:20; 8. Mia Mraz, Legacy, 21:28; 9. Anna Busath, Palmer Ridge, 21:30; 10. Katie Kinch, Legacy, 21:42.
Erie Results — Emily Condon 20:44, Ashley Edwards 22:11, Emma Osborn 22:48, Reagan Fischer 23:16, Isabel Sease 23:32.
Frederick results — Mikenna Hoffman 27:35, Skylar Moulton 32:41.
Legacy results — Abby Jones 19:49, Mia Mraz 21:28, Katie Kinch 21:42, Laura Broderick 22:47, Ava Young 22:53.
Nederland results — Helen Cross 22:02, Meg Feeley 23:36, Alex Sorokach 26:49, Meagan Figgins 29:25, Eirwen McClish 35:41.