COLORADO SPRINGS — Maggie Moline had two goals Saturday — an optimistic one and a cautiously optimistic one.
The Centaurus cross country standout knew she had one in the bag as the Class 4A state meet wound down at the Norris-Penrose Event Center. Then, as the junior put it, she crossed her fingers that phase two of her goal would be a reality as well.
It was, as Moline nabbed seventh place with a time of 20 minutes, 10.3 seconds.
“I decided that I’d go for top 10, that I’d be happy anywhere in the top 10,” Moline said. “Top seven was my goal that was a little scary and I didn’t want to commit to. But top 10 was definitely in my brain the whole time.”
With temperatures unseasonably high in the upper 70s, Moline quickly realized she would have to be careful.
“I came out way harder than I was planning, and I was kind of panicking in the middle of the race because I realized, ‘Oh no, I’m really tired,'” Moline said. “It was kind of luck too, because I could tell the girls in front of me were also really tired. So on the various curves and dips they would kind of drop off and I would push through.”
The youthful Centaurus girls finished 15th overall, with junior Olivia Rogers placing 51st and Nicole Rosen, the Warriors’ lone senior at state, checking in at 111.
On the boys side, all eyes were on Warriors senior Jake Link. He was disappointed with his 10th-place finish last year, and after sitting out track season in the spring, came back to have an awesome fall that included a first-place finish in the Class 4A Region 3 meet.
But it wasn’t a banner day for Link, who placed 29th. Instead, it was senior Ben Patzer who paced the way to Centaurus’ eighth-place finish by finishing 13th in 17:25.7, about 13 seconds ahead of Link.
“Much better than I expected,” Patzer said. “It was just a great day I guess. My last year, so I’m going all out.”
Patzer was as surprised as anyone that it was he and not Link who was the Warriors’ top finisher.
“I probably passed him 400 (meters) after the two-mile mark,” Patzer said. “I gave him a nice pat and said ‘Stick with me.’ He powered me through. I don’t think I really got a big lead on him ever.”
Junior Brooks MacDonald was third among Centaurus runners, finishing 37th.
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