LONGMONT — It certainly has been a banner year for a pair of prep cross country teams in the city of Longmont.
The Longmont boys cross country team has come a long way from a team that was habitually finishing last or close to it just a few seasons ago. Not only did the Trojans boys drastically increase their average meet finish this season, they lengthened the season altogether.
For the first time since 2006, the Trojans qualified for the Class 4A state championships and will run as a team at Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs this Saturday.
“It’s a super cool feeling,” Trojans sophomore Sean Kilcullen said. “We were pretty disappointed last year not making it. All our hard work over the winter and during the year has paid off. I’m just excited to be going to state with a great group of guys.
“The pressure is off. We played all our cards at regionals since it’s been such a long time since we’ve been to state and it paid off.”
With nothing to lose at last Thursday’s 4A Region 4 meet, the Trojans took third place to secure one of the four automatic team qualifying spots out of the region. Kilcullen led the way in sixth place overall with a time of 17 minutes, 31 seconds and junior teammate Cade Bickmore placed eighth in 17:36.
Like all other qualifying teams, the Trojans will enter seven runners and their top five will be counted in their team score on Saturday. Kilcullen, Bickmore, senior Taylor Chouinard, senior Nathaniel Eiffert, junior Patrick Salazar, junior Nico Urrego and senior Jared Wells will all run for the Trojans.
For all seven, it will be his first time at the state championships.
“I’ve never been to a state meet before,” Wells said. “I’ve tried to qualify for wrestling the past couple years and just missed it. I think the state course is really cool and I’m looking forward to it.”
Longmont has regained ground as one of the top distance running teams in the perennial distance running hotbed that is the St. Vrain Valley School District. At the same time, the Mead High girls team broke all new ground of its own, qualifying the first team in its school’s history for the state meet.
A long shot at best at the 4A Region 4 meet, the Mavericks nabbed the fourth and final team qualifying spot from Fort Morgan behind a 14th-place overall finish from sophomore Camilla Lee (21:07) and a 15th-place finish from freshman Sophia Maeda (21:12).
“It’s a huge accomplishment and I’m so proud of everybody on our team because people didn’t expect us to make it and it’s a big step up for us,” said Lee, the Mavericks team captain. “Sophia really pushed us to get higher placements and to give it our all and she’s one of the main reasons we’re all going.”
Sophomore Sierra Bell, sophomore Christina Burrow, senior Molly Gehringer, junior Makayla McDaniel and sophomore Madison Polson will round out the Mavericks’ state meet roster.
At the state championships this Saturday, the 4A boys race will begin at 10:30 a.m. The 4A girls race will begin at 12:30 p.m.
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