Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
LONGMONT — With 11 girls finishing in the top 25 of the RE-1J District cross country meet on Wednesday at Sunset Golf Course, Niwot once again established an ability to conquer its closest-in-proximity foes with depth.
That thundering clan of runners was impressive, if not intimidating, to Lyons’s freshman sensation, Quin Gregg. However, with a lead through the first lap and a determination to gain her first career varsity win, she would not be sideswiped by the Cougars contingent.
With a daunting climb finishing the course for 500 feet leading up to the finish, Gregg did not dare look back behind her, and she ended up winning the race with a time of 21 minutes, 13 seconds.
“This course is awful, and it’s good that we train so much on hills in Lyons,” Gregg elegantly quipped as she prepared to cheer on the Lyons boys after the win. “It feels pretty awesome to get this one.”
Gregg is one of the main reasons why Lyons is expected to compete for a Class 2A state championship, and on Wednesday she showed her unflappable side as Niwot’s Samrawit Dishon, Maggie Smith, Joelle McDonald and Taylor James were working together right behind her.
Her kick at the end was strong, and in fact she seemed to keep the same distance between her and that group for the final few hundred meters.
“They scared the crap out of me,” Gregg said of Niwot’s group. “But you go up that hill, which is very hard … and since it’s the finish you kind of go into this zone where you don’t feel anything anymore. I just used that, because I knew I could suffer now and be proud of myself for winning.”
With the temperatures holding steady in the 90s, it proved to be an interesting race for all the competitors — even the earlier middle school level races that make the RE-1J meet unique.
McDonald has raced the Sunset course several times since her days at Sunset Middle School, and on Wednesday she said that’s one of the reasons why the RE-1J meet is one of her favorite events of the year.
As for this race specifically, head coach Kelly Christensen wanted it to be used as a good training day, and McDonald liked the approach the entire team took. Eva Klingbeil and Eva Lennert joined the aforementioned foursome in the top 10, and Niwot scored just 21 points.
“I think it was nice to be able to work together, and everything comes easier when you do it as a team,” McDonald said after coming in at 21:17. “This is a meet we’re proud of. We get to work together, bolster our team confidence, we’re making connections with the middle school teams … just a cool race as a community.
“I raced this in seventh and eighth grade, and just seeing all the high schoolers then it was like, this is so cool. Now, it’s cool to be on the other side of that and being able to cheer on Sunset, as well as the other middle schools.”
Erie’s Emily Condon, who has raced well all year, finished sixth with a time of 21:36 and freshman teammate Ashley Edwards was 10th, helping Erie to second place as a team. Mead’s Kaitlynn Salazar finished eighth.
RE-1J District Cross Country Meet
At Sunset Golf Course
Team scores — Niwot 21, Erie 65, Mead 77, Lyons 82, Longmont 141, Silver Creek 161.
Top 20 individuals — 1. Quin Gregg, Lyons, 21:13; 2. Samrawit Dishon, Niwot, 21:17; 3. Maggie Smith, Niwot, 21:17; 4. Joelle McDonald, Niwot, 21:17; 5. Taylor James, Niwot, 21:17; 6. Emily Condon, Erie, 21:36; 7. Eva Klingbeil, Niwot, 21:41; 8. Kaitlynn Salazar, Mead, 22:46; 9. Eva Lennert, Niwot, 22:54; 10. Ashley Edwards, Erie, 23:02;
11. Katie Fankhouser, Lyons, 23:02; 12. Eva Maeda, Mead, 23:10; 13. Mallory Finley, Niwot, 23:16; 14. Amelia Philofsky, Niwot, 23:22; 15. Emma Osborn, Erie, 23:46; 16. Jeanne Kilcullen, Skyline, 24:00; 17. Hannah Thomas, Lyons, 24:27; 18. Emmalee Fischer, Erie, 24:28; 19. Mina Altshuler, Niwot, 24:34; 20. Jordan Sewczak, Mead, 24:35; 21. Korrin Wells, Mead, 24:36; 22. Audrey Joseph, Erie, 24:42; 23. Kandice Kittinger, Longmont, 24:44; 24. Tessa Everett, Niwot, 25:26; 25. Aleah Keppler, Niwot, 25:33.