AURORA — Dynasty.
The Nederland girls cross country team is nothing less.
The Panthers out-paced Vanguard and Telluride in a tight three-way team race on Saturday at state cross country to win their fourth-straight state title — every one since 2A became its own classification for the sport.
All five Panthers runners placed in the top 20 on the 3.1-mile Arapahoe County Fairgrounds course, including all three of their scorers finishing in the top 13.
Senior Kelley Robinson, meanwhile, won her third individual crown in four years, cruising to 47-second victory over Telluride’s Rachel Hampton in a time of 18:42.31.
“We won the first year, and it was amazing,” Robinson said of her team’s run. “We didn’t know we could do it again. So to do this and have a legacy going on is incredible. I’m so proud of our team.”
Both Robinson and Rebecca Hermann ran for all four of the NHS title teams. Robinson won three titles of her own and finished second once. Hermann finished fifth for the third time Saturday and also took eighth once. Fellow senior Jess Ousley ran on three of the title teams and took 20th Saturday.
“I can’t believe this is the last time I did this,” said Hermann, who had been hampered this week by illness as had Ousley. “But we went out with a bang, and I can’t believe it. I’m happy.”
While their two biggest stars are graduating, the Panthers’ run has the potential to keep rolling.
Sophomores Bailey Kuechenmeister (13th) and Jenna Mahon (15th) will lead the way next season for a squad that has multiple other talented underclassmen ready for their chance.
Nederland went into Saturday expecting the biggest challenge from Telluride. But a 6-9-10 finish by Vanguard boosted the Colorado Springs charter school into second.
Nederland won with 19 points. Vanguard had 25. Telluride finished with 27. And Lyons took fourth with 63, led by sophomore Miriam Roberts.
“I’m just so happy that we pulled it off,” Robinson said. “Everything just fit into place. It’s perfect.”
Shining Mountain senior Birdie Hutton logged the third top-10 finish of her career, taking third in Class 2A in a time of 19:45.66. “I’m pretty happy with it,” Hutton said. “I gave it a lot of effort.” … The Holy Family boys took third in 3A, led by top-15 runs by seniors Sean Ankarlo (14th) and Sam Hillman (15th). Peak to Peak was seventh, led by junior Justin Rodenburg. … The Holy Family girls finished ninth, led by sophomore Lindsay Chavez in sixth place. Freshman Dallas Frisbie led Peak to Peak to 12th place, meanwhile, with a 21st-place finish.