Joshua Buck/Times-Call
Niwot’s Elise Cranny, left, and Skyline’s Connor Timms are the Times-Call cross country runners of the year.

Coming off a 10th-place finish at the Class 4A state championships last year as a freshman, Elise Cranny had one main goal coming into her sophomore campaign.

Win state.

After breaking the course record at the St. Vrain Invitational, Cranny went on to win both conference and regional titles, setting her goal in plain sight.

She came oh-so-close. Cranny finished second at the state meet, but still met her goal of a sub-19 minute run.

The level of success that Cranny already has achieved indicates an even brighter future for the Niwot harrier, with two years of high school running left.

Coming from a family with two triathletes for parents, Cranny started running track in 6th grade, joining the cross country team for the first time in 8th grade.

“I liked cross country a lot more, because it wasn’t just running around a track,” she says. “It was more exciting.”

Outside of cross country and track, Cranny competes in triathlons as well, placing first and second in her age group at two events this past summer.

Coming off an all-state year as a freshman, it was obvious that Cranny had the talent to continue to grow as a top runner in the state.

She says this past year she learned the importance of building a strong foundation in the summer, ramping up her summer workouts with lots of cross training.

Her continued results this year are proof of her hard work.

“She’s got high expectations,” says Niwot coach Doug Duffy. “She wanted to be the state champion, that’s what she was running for. She came up a little bit short, but she will continue to work hard at a hard sport.”

With Niwot graduating 15 seniors this coming spring, and having a smaller number of juniors on the team, Duffy says he hopes Cranny will start to step into a more prominent leadership position, a role she has already naturally started to fulfill through her hard work and performance on the course.

Cranny relishes the competition, but also the time spent with her teammates training and racing.

“Cross country is such a family sport,” Cranny says. “Our whole team is like a family, so it makes it fun to run and worth going to practice.”

Because of her dedication and consistency Duffy says he expects more of the same from Cranny in the future.

“I have high expectations of her because that’s what she has for herself,” he says. “It’s exciting to train her and see her do well.”

Cranny’s short-term plans include a trip to Phoenix to compete in the Nike Cross Southwest Regional in hopes of earning a spot at Nike Nationals.

When asked what her long-term goals are for her next two seasons, there is no hesitation in Cranny’s answer.

“I want to win state the next two following years.”