COLORADO SPRINGS — The reign of state championships is officially over, but it was hardly a dismal day for the Monarch girls cross country team
On an unseasonably warm Saturday at Norris-Penrose Event Center, the Coyotes were narrowly denied a fourth straight Class 5A crown by Fort Collins. But a second-place team finish hardly was something to scoff at, especially when it was peppered with a fourth-place individual finish by sophomore Holly Bent.
“I mean, we’re bummed out for sure because we didn’t race like we could have,” said Monarch senior Karina Mann, the lone incumbent who was part of all three titles. “If we had to lose to someone, it’d be Fort Collins because they are great people.”
Buoyed by first-place finisher Lauren Gregory, the Lambkins’ 113 score edged coach Kent Rieder’s Coyotes by five points.
Bent was followed by Coyotes teammates Audrey Lookner (17th), Elissa Mann (28th), Karina Mann (37th) and freshman Liz Hogan (53rd). Although she obviously would have preferred her accomplishment to be paired with another team title, Bent was ecstatic with her run.
“It feels so great right now. I’m so excited,” Bent said. “We usually have a pretty tight pack and we still had a tight pack, but I think a few of us just wanted to break into the top 10. Fourth is just great.”
Bent finished in 19 minutes, 26.8 seconds, less than two seconds away from capturing second place. She fell across the finish line, but it wasn’t because she was injured.
“I always fall,” she said. “This is silly, but my reward system is that if you finish hard, you can fall over. And during the race I think about falling over a lot. I did feel super dizzy, but feeling good now.”
The Mann sisters will graduate, but Monarch’s other five runners from the state meet were all underclassmen.
“I never expected this going through my high school career,” Karina Mann said. “It’s awesome to win three state championships and get second for another year. I’m really lucky to be on such a good team for four years and I’m sad it has to end.”
On the boys side, Monarch sophomore Isaac Green finished 11th in 17:13.4. Green, the brother of former Coyotes extraordinaire Claire Green, wasn’t overly pleased.
“I was hoping for better, but it just wasn’t my day today,” Green said. “As soon as I started, I got tired and my throat started to hurt. I couldn’t breathe, then it got progressively worse. At the top of the hill, that’s where it really started going bad.”
The Monarch boys finished 13th overall, with junior Ben Hogan (64th) and freshman Charlie Perry (89th) the next to finish.
“I’m satisfied with the season, more so the team season than my own,” Green said. “Next year will be better.”
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