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Cross country: Broomfield girls, MoHi’s Green take 5A titles

  • David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer

    Isaac Green of Monarch, right, runs to the finish line just ahead of Jake Mitchem of Broomfield during the state 5A cross country championships at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs. Green won the 5A title with a tme of 16:03.51.

  • David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer

    Emily Mitchem of Broomfield runs to the finish line during the state 5A girls cross country championship. Mitchem finished ninth to help the Eagles capture the team title.

  • David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Katelyn Mitchem runs to the finish line during the state cross country championships at the Norris Penrose Events Center Saturday.

  • David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Emily Galvin, left, and Monarch's Hailey Leader make a dash to the finish line during the state cross country championships at the Norris Penrose Events Center on Saturday.

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COLORADO SPRINGS — The most fantastic element of the CHSAA state cross country championships is that something unexpected tends to always turn up.

If there was ever a surprise on Saturday at the Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, it was a group of blue-clad Broomfield girls — none older than a sophomore — who came together to trip up the favorites and win their first state team title in the sport.

Monarch High’s Isaac Green also won his first state title, leading a heavy representation of area runners in the long-running event that brings schools big and small together.

Broomfield coach Greg Weich jumped for joy when he found out that the Eagles had edged Cherry Creek and Fairview for the team title, even though both the Bruins and Knights had individuals who finished higher.

But a loose attitude seemed to resonate throughout the pack from sophomore Emily Mitchem on down the line. Mitchem finished ninth in a time of 19 minutes, 17.45 seconds, and classmate Ivy Gonzales placed 21st at 19:42. Sensational finishes even for Katelyn Mitchem, McKenzie Gaines, Alena Valdez and even Emily Galvin and Vanessa Kort – the final pair who did not score toward the Eagles’ 112 points yet finished in the top 65 – will certainly keep the Eagles as frontrunners in the future.

“I felt like we had a chance, but with our team being all freshmen and sophomores, we really had to come together to do this,” said Emily Mitchem, who finished 10th a year ago. “We know we have a long time ahead of us to keep improving, and it wasn’t about winning this year. I ran more thinking on the team because I knew we had a chance to do well.”

It was a group that just went about their business the entire season and got a bounce-back effort from Gonzales, who finished 134th last year. She admitted dealing with personal issues during the time of last year’s race, but that things have taken a turn for the better during the spring and since.

“Last track season, I just got a lot of things figured out and I’ve just been training and having good runs ever since,” Gonzales said. “The second mile was tough for me, but the course actually felt pretty short. It feels good to beat all these teams with seniors and juniors, and us just being this really young team.”

While the Eagles’ girls rose to the occasion, the Coyotes’ Green emerged as a favorite to win state during the season. It wasn’t going to be a cake-walk, and Broomfield senior Jake Mitchem’s presence behind him leading into the stadium finish certainly made Green gear up.

The MoHi junior finished in 16:03.51, while Jake Mitchem finished second at 16:04.71.

“I was worried most of the race … more than I have been the rest of the year, but going into the finishing chute I just wasn’t going to let anybody beat me here,” Green said, a smile flashing between deep breaths. “If the push (from Mitchem) would have come from the middle (the stadium), I don’t know if I would have held on.”

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24