GREELEY — Sam Berg’s list of concerns on Thursday at the Class 4A Region 4 cross country meet at Monfort Park looked a little like this: 1. Run fast. 2. Qualify for state. And 3. Try not to worry about the smell.
“We ran in Greeley a few weeks ago and it was just overpowering,” the Skyline junior said. “It didn’t smell too bad today.”
The clean air and the crisp temperatures helped Berg to a third-place finish, crossing the line in 16 minutes and 37 seconds while earning a trip back to the state meet, set for next Saturday at Cheyenne Mountain’s Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
Berg finished 10 seconds behind regional champion Jarrett Thollot of Thompson Valley. Mountain View’s Julian Von Holton finished a very close second.
The relatively flat terrain of the Monfort Park course is nothing like what Berg and his teammate Chris Meduna — the only other Skyline qualifier — will see next week at state, but Berg is not worried and will be ready for the test that is the state course.
“State is definitely the hardest event of the year, mainly because it is everyone’s last race and with the toughness of the course, it’s always the hardest race of the year,” said Berg, who finished 28th at state last season. “We are going to feel it afterwards.”
Meduna, who has been struggling all year with injuries, finished 10th with a time of 17:26 and felt it was his best race of the season. Shin splints and Achilles aches have prevented the senior from having a standout season, but a return trip to state may be the perfect elixir to his season.
“It’s good that my legs are healing now,” said Meduna, who finished 25th at state last season.
Skyline’s team total of 124 points left them in fifth-place and on the outside looking in for a team bid to state. They finished just seven points behind Fort Morgan.
After a year away from state, Silver Creek will send two runners next week. Senior Connor Christofferson (12th in 17:27) and Andrew King (14th in 17:28) will both represent the Raptors in Colorado Springs.
“Fantastic, I couldn’t be more happy with my PR,” said Christofferson, whose first visit to the state course in August didn’t go so well. “I want a rematch, I got hurt in the middle of the race last time.”
Longmont finished eighth in the 11-team event and was led by top-30 finishes from Nathaniel Eiffert and Sean Killcullen. Mead finished 10th and the Mavericks’ top runner was Sean Esch in 33rd.
On the girls side, Silver Creek coach Barbara Keith could hardly contain her emotion after her Raptors finished third and will go to state as a team for the first time in a long time.
“This is everything we dreamed of for these girls is to get to state,” Keith said. “We worked the stats over and over and we knew coming in it was going to be a fight to get there, but they did it.”
Freshman Mikayla Gaffney led the way for Silver Creek, finishing eighth in a time of 19:28. Her game plan was simple and she followed it to a tee — stay with the top teams (Thompson Valley and Mountain View) and good things will happen.
“I was just trying to follow Thompson Valley and the other gold and white school and pretty much hit 6:10 for my first mile and I did that,” Gaffney said. “I just tried to keep it up.”
The Silver Creek team of Maiya Jazwierska, Allison Howlett, Taylor Stinson, Sage Madden, Brissa Ramirez and Samantha Koski will all get a chance to tackle the state course next week. If the rest of the team is anything like Gaffney, it should be a fairly easy week of practice.
“Mostly relax and try to sleep a lot,” said Gaffney about her preparation plans for the week. “I like hills personally, so it’s more time preparing for these courses than it is the other ones.”
The only other area qualifier for state was Skyline’s Sydney Richards. The Falcons junior — who finished 13th in a time of 19:58 — will look to improve on her 36th-place finish a year ago.
The ever-improving Longmont girls finished fifth in the team race and senior Molly Klotz was the top Trojans finisher at 19th with a time of 20:35.
Said second-year Longmont coach Kevin Akers, who has his teams heading in the right direction: “I always tell people I’m starting from underground.”
Mead finished sixth and Morgan Lu was unable to make a return trip to state after finishing 28th.
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Class 4A Region 4
At Monfort Park (Greeley)
Team scores (top four teams qualify for state) — Mountain View 60, Thompson Valley 66, Berthoud 102, Fort Morgan 117, Skyline 124, Silver Creek 132, Windsor 150, Longmont 179, Greeley Central 246, Mead 257, Roosevelt 318.
State qualifiers — 1. Jarrett Thollot, Thompson Valley, 16:27; 2. Julian Von Holten, Mountain View, 16:27; 3. Sam Berg, Skyline, 16:37; 4. Tola Walio, Fort Morgan, 16:41; 5. Luke Spitz, Berthoud, 16:47; 6. Ben Leitz, Windsor, 16:47; 7. Peter Franklin, Mountain View, 16:51; 8. Kaleb Simington, Thompson Valley, 16:51; 9. Evan Rudolph, Thompson Valley, 16:53; 10. Chris Meduna, Skyline, 17:26; 11. Dillon Starck, Windsor, 17:26; 12. Connor Christofferson, Silver Creek, 17:27; 13. Bryce Strohecker, Mountain View, 17:28; 14. Andrew King, Silver Creek, 17:28; 15. Daniel Raak, Berthoud, 17:28.
Other Skyline results — 19. Hayden Falkinburg 17:44; 37. Tanner Brohm 18:33; 57. John Davis 19:14; 59. Jordan Wright 19:16; 69. Johan Chrisman 19:42.
Other Silver Creek results — 24. Bronson Thomas-Garcia 18:02; 39. Alex Bush 18:37; 43. Austin Maydew 18:40; 53. Brendon Naftel 19:01; 58. Jackson Engles 19:15.
Longmont results — 26. Nathaniel Eiffert 18:08; 28. Sean Kilcullen 18:12; 38. Jared Wells 18:34; 41. Nicholas Urrego 18:38; 46. Tyler Oliver 18:48; 47. Nat Britten 18:48; 50. Taylor Chouinard 18:55.
Mead results — 33. Sean Esch 18:24; 36. Cody Whittern 18:27; 60. Alex Urbach 19:17; 66. Hayden Kessler 19:39; 73. Riley Kerr 19:55; 79. Thomas Maeda 20:26; 93. John Finke 21:37.
Team scores (top four teams qualify for state) — Mountain View 32, Thompson Valley 37, Silver Creek 96, Windsor 103, Longmont 159, Mead 160, Berthoud 179, Fort Morgan 230, Greeley Central 244, Skyline 262, Roosevelt 324, Northridge 375.
State qualifiers — 1. Riley Cooney, Mountain View, 18:45; 2. Lauren Offerman, Mountain View 18:52; 3. Kiah Leonard, Berthoud, 18:59; 4. Rachel Franklin, Mountain View, 19:14; 5. Emily Leidig, Thompson Valley, 19:17; 6. Kendra Larson, Thompson Valley, 19:21; 7. Megan Irvine, Thompson Valley, 19:27; 8. Mikayla Gaffney, Silver Creek, 19:28; 9. Hayley Berg, Thompson Valley, 19:36; 10. Helena Ernst, Thompson Valley, 19:44; 11. Abby Stewart, Mountain View, 19:49; 12. Ally Bronson, Windsor, 19:51; 13. Sydney Richards, Skyline, 19:58; 14. Abbi Stratton, Mountain View, 20:01; 15. Tori Thomas, Windsor, 20:19.
Other Silver Creek results — 16. Maiya Jazwierska 20:20; 18. Allison Howlett 20:24; 22. Taylor Stinson 20:53; 32. Sage Madden 21:27; 44. Brissa Ramirez 21:54; 45. Samantha Koski 21:55.
Longmont results — 19. Molly Klotz 20:35; 30. Bailee Fowler 21:26; 37. Verena O’Malley 21:39; 39. Lizzi Frothingham 21:44; 40. Kathryn Schell 21:45; 70. Anna Schell 22:49; 71. Jamie Cropp 22:49.
Mead results — 28. Morgan Lu 21:20; 29. Madison Polson 21:23; 35. Camilla Lee 21:33; 36. Sierra Bell 21:38; 52. Kelsey Martin 22:11; 63. Acacia Stephen 22:36.
Other Skyline results — 54. Jenna Wilson 22:15; 64. Avynne Trembly 22:37; 80. Emily Jarvis 23:31; 83. Edie Gilbert 23:35.