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State cross country: Fisk leads Niwot boys to runner-up finish

Niwot's Jake Fisk (far right)tries to surge past the competition at the Class 4A state cross country final.
David R. Jennings / Daily Camera
Niwot’s Jake Fisk (far right)tries to surge past the competition at the Class 4A state cross country final.

COLORADO SPRINGS — All prep runners hope that someday they can reach some previously unreachable level during their final race.

For Niwot High senior Jake Fisk, that meant the Class 4A race at the state cross country championship on Saturday. At the Norris-Penrose Event Center, Fisk’s last race for the Cougars was the race of his life.

Leading the Cougars to a second-place team finish, Fisk took fifth overall with a time of 16 minutes, 56.7 seconds.

“I’ve never raced like this before and I’m ecstatic about it,” Fisk said. “It’s just the atmosphere and we’ve got a really good community to run with and a lot of competition. I felt terrible for the first mile but guys started dropping like flies and I started passing them one by one. So, I gave it everything I had and I was kind of blacking out a bit at the end.”

Last season, Fisk fell short of his top-10 goal by finishing 22nd in 17:24.0. He expected to be better and set his expectations just as high this season but improving his time by nearly 30 seconds wasn’t something Fisk saw coming.

Finishing second as a team, however, was something the Cougars have expected all season long.

Niwot senior Joe Plunkett placed 17th in 17:27.7, junior Isaac Flores placed 23rd in 17:33.2, senior Elliot Minor placed 30th in 17:39.1 and senior Niels Snow placed 38th in 17:50.2 to combine with Fisk for the Cougars’ team score of 106. They finished 16 points behind team champion Palmer Ridge.

While the Cougars boys reveled in their expected top-two finish, their girls team was a bit disappointed with their 161 team points and fifth-place finish.

Junior Emily Cranny, sister of graduated Cougars state champion Elise Cranny, didn’t fall victim to disappointment. She defied her own expectations to place 12th in 20:48.8.

“I tried to channel Elise while I was running and try to live up to her expectations,” Cranny said. “Since we lost her last year, we were trying to rewrite our team and start over again. We really worked together and we were hoping for the best today. There are obviously disappointments every time at a big meet like this. I definitely didn’t think I was going to be in the position I was while I was running but I felt good so I just thought I’d go for it.”

Cougars sophomore Jenna McCaffrey placed 23rd in 21:08.5, senior Christa Boettiger placed 29th in 21:19.3, sophomore Claire Gillett placed 63rd in 21:59.1 and junior Kela Fetters placed 67th in 22:03.4.

“The boys were very focused, very driven and very synergetic,” Niwot coach Tim Flamer said. “They envisioned this from the beginning of the summer. The girls had one of those days that you hope comes at a little lesser meet in the middle of the season. They were successful all season long but they were off today which is unfortunate because they didn’t get to show people at the state level how good they really are.”

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