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Cross country: Niwot enjoys solid all-around day at St. Vrain Invite

Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera
Niwot’s Emily Cranny leads a Cougars pack at the St. Vrain Invitational.

 

LYONS — Jake Fisk’s body language said it all.

Although the Niwot harrier put on a more than respectable showing at Lyons’ St. Vrain Invitational, the senior was clearly upset with his performance, and was unafraid of letting teammates and onlookers know it.

“I felt OK, it was not my best race,” Fisk said. “I felt I wrapped up ok, but I definitely should have done a lot better. I came into the race with a lot higher expectations.”

All this despite finishing in 16 minutes, 46 seconds to place 17th in a stacked field and leading his squad to a fourth-place finish. But, such is life when one is an upperclassman striving to make the most of his final prep season.

After finishing 22nd at state a year ago, Fisk has big plans for both himself and his teammates in 2014. And with five state qualifiers returning from last year’s team, which finished seventh at state, he has good reason.

While the Lyons event may not have gone exactly as Fisk planned, some of his fellow Cougars did step up to make a push for the podium. Elliot Minor crossed in 16:53, good for 23rd, and Niels Snow came in at 17:04 for 28th place. Isaac Flores then rounded out the scoring group in 33rd place with a time of 17:07.

So, despite his perceived struggles, Fisk should take solace in knowing his group is capable of making up some time behind him. And given that it’s still early in the campaign, Niwot has plenty of time to fully develop and shine when it really counts.

“I feel I am on pace to peak at state,” Fisk said. “Right now I’m not at my fastest … but I’m getting back into it.”

The Niwot girls, meanwhile, did seem pleased for the most part with their performance, as the team rolled to a sixth place finish.

Senior Christa Boettiger ran with her teammates early on but broke away toward the end of the first mile and began to race against her opponents. She ended up finishing 17th in 19:39, while sophomore Jenna McCaffrey was 23rd at 20:14. Emily Cranny then crossed 3 seconds later to take 24th.

“I was feeling pretty good out there,” Boettiger said. “The first two miles were pretty good, but the third one was a little harder, and fatigue started to set in, but overall I think it was good race.

“As far as a team there wasn’t as much as team goals as there will be for other races. This is only our second meet, but our times are going down and if we keep training hard we’ll be good.”


MEAD MAKING STRIDES

While the young Mead girls team still has a ways to go before they are battling for a top team spot, progress is already being made at this early juncture in the season. Hoping to improve on their individual performances from a week ago, many of the Mavericks’ times dropped by over a minute, despite racing a more rigorous course.

“They’ve struggled with their pace a lot, but they probably ran the smartest race I’ve ever seen them run,” Mead coach Chris Reynolds said. “They blew our goals away, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Madi Polson was the first Mav to cross, taking 72nd place in a time of 21:58. Despite the difficulties the course presented, the sophomore seemed to enjoy the challenge and has her eyes on a big leap come season’s end.

“I want to break 20:00 this year,” Polson said. “Our school record is 19:54, so that’s what I’m going for and I’m really excited about that.”


TWIN PEAKS’ LEADER MOTIVATES

With only one returning state qualifier on the squad, Twin Peaks’ Jaen Chavez may seem to have fallen into a leadership role by default. But that’s not to say the senior isn’t the right man for the job.

After motoring down the final stretch to pass several opponents in the closing seconds to take 77th place, it seemed probable that the harrier might fall to his knees in exhaustion like so many others around him. But instead of hitting the grass, Chavez turned around to shout words of encouragement as his fellow Timberwolves made their way to the finish line.

“My will was was just telling me that I’m doing it for others and not just for myself,” Chavez said of his rapid finish.

“(My teammates) were wonderful. I’d really like to take them to state with me. I think there’s a good chance of it. This is a really hard race for them, because we’ve been going on (flatter) surfaces, but this was good.”


COMING IN FROM CALI

Over the summer, Lyons coach Mark Roberts received one of many calls from a coach interested in adding teams to the event’s massive field. This one was different, however, in that it came from an area code outside of Colorado.

Justin Torres, the head coach of Salesian High School in Los Angeles, wanted to take his team on a trip this season and selected Lyons as the location to go. So 15 members of the Mustangs’ program made the trip out to run at either the 4A/5A or JV levels.

And as it turns out, the city boys can run a bit too. Despite the lengthy road trip and unfamiliar terrain, SHS finished ninth as a team in the boys field. The Mustangs were led by Thomas Navarro, who finished eighth in a time of 16:08.

“We run in altitude during summer, so we got that training,” said Navarro, who had previously never been to Colorado. “So it’s mostly mental for us. It was tough overall. The downhill (portion) really sapped out the energy from your legs before the kick, and there were a lot of fast people, so I was happy to race here.

“This was beautiful. We were very grateful to be here and to experience this kind of race, so it was a pleasure.”

Follow James on Twitter: twitter.com/james_melillo