LAKEWOOD - With only eight boys qualifying for the state meet, Silver Creek senior James Lee was skeptical about the Raptors' chances of winning a team championship.

"We definitely thought we were in contention to be top three," Lee said. "I know for a fact that the coaches were like, 'We can do this.'"

Silver Creek wasn't dominating, but led by Lee, the Raptors pulled off a somewhat surprising win, taking the Class 4A team title at Jefferson County Stadium on Saturday. Silver Creek finished with 60.5 points to knock off Pueblo South (52), Pine Creek (51) and Valor Christian (50).

"All the little points we got just added up," first-year head coach Jacy Riel said. "All day it's been every single event the teams have shifted. We did the math after pole vault and I told the (1,600-meter relay team) what they needed to do and they went out and they did it."

Silver Creek held a half-point lead over Pueblo South going into the final event and a 2.5-point lead over Valor, but the real threat was Pine Creek, sitting 3.5 points back. South and Valor didn't have relay teams going, but Pine Creek did.

Riel's message to her team: Don't lose to Pine Creek by four points.

Pine Creek was neck-and-neck with Mullen for the win coming down the final stretch, when its anchor final runner fell. The Raptors' team of Lee, Brock Dykema, Logan Simington and Daniel Ford finished second, and Pine Creek was eighth.


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"That's even a shock, too, because none of us have really ran 400s except for Daniel," Lee said. "Running the 4x4 to win state is not where we thought we'd be - we're all distance guys - but it's still a blast."

Lee certainly did his part, finishing second in the 1,600 meters on Saturday, to go with his win in the 800 meters on Friday. Lee also helped the Raptors to second in the 1,600 relay and third in the 3,200 relay.

Silver Creek’s Sam Dirkes throws the discus during Saturday’s Class 4A state championships at Jeffco Stadium. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more
Silver Creek's Sam Dirkes throws the discus during Saturday's Class 4A state championships at Jeffco Stadium. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

"Yeah, I definitely am (happy)," he said after capping off a two-year run in which he claimed seven top-three medals at state, including two 800-meter titles. "This season was a little different. We just had a lot more competition in 4A and it made it more fun. Winning a title yesterday (in the 800 meters), I definitely finished off good. I'm happy with second place (in the 1,600), too.

"You can't be disappointed. I'm really happy with how it ended."

Dykema said it was amazing to cap his career with a team title, especially after the Raptors were third last year and top four in state cross country the last two years.

"We were itching for even just a trophy for second," said Dykema, who was eighth in the 1,600. "This is just amazing.

"Last night we realized we were kind of in contention. We knew we really had to come out here and perform and our thrower (Samuel Dirkes) did great and our pole vaulter (Hunter Potrykus) did great. We realized this could really happen."

Dirkes posted a third-place finish in the discus on Saturday, while Potrykus tied for second in the pole vault. After Potrykus' performance, the Raptors' 1,600 relay had to come through, and it did.

Riel, who led the Mountain View boys to a team title in 2016 before moving over the Silver Creek as an assistant last year, praised Lee and her other boys.

"It's a very, very talented distance team," she said. "They are irreplaceable. It's awesome for them to get a team title as seniors. We brought eight boys down here and after Thursday, I would have said no way are we going to win a state title."

While it may not have been a likely title, the Raptors will take it.

"We had multiple seasons where we thought we were going to win the state title and never quite got there," Simington said. "Doing it now when honestly we least expected it, that's big for us. It's a good way to go out."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33