• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Dawson's Lucca Fulkerson, left, and Helen Cross of Nederland are amongst the favorites to win the 2A state championship this weekend.

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Sydney Swanker is expected to compete for the 5A championship at Saturday's state meet in Colorado Springs.

  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Erie's Jamison Cartwright will be a factor in the Class 4A race at this weekend's state championships.

  • file photo /

    The Peak to Peak girls team, led by Anna Shults, right, Quinn McConnell and Tiana Bradfield. will be looking to win the 3A team title for the third consecutive season.



If you go

What: 2018 State Cross Country Championships

When: Saturday, Oct. 27

Where: Norris-Penrose Event Center, Colorado Springs

Race times: 3A boys, 9 a.m.; 5A girls, 9:40 a.m.; 3A girls, 10:20 a.m.; 5A boys, 11 a.m.; Unified race, 11:40 a.m.; 2A girls, 12:20 p.m.; 4A boys, 1 p.m.; 2A boys, 1:40 p.m.; 4A girls, 2:20 p.m.

The Colorado high school cross country state championships are on deck for this Saturday at Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.

Like every year, the runners from the area will play heavily into how the events transpire in each of the eight races. Let’s take a look at some of the top storylines to follow in each of the four classifications.

Class 5A

This year’s 5A races should be dominated by Valor Christian’s Cole Sprout on the boys side and Mountain Vista on the girls side. Barring a series of highly-unexpected events, there won’t be any local title winners in this classification. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be special performances, and Broomfield’s Sydney Swanker is the most likely to have one. The lone returner from Broomfield’s 2017 runner-up team, Swanker won the Region 3 title last week and her 17:10 from earlier in the season is the ninth best time in the state.

Class 4A

Erie’s Jamison Cartwright has top-10 potential and the Silver Creek boys have a talented group. Emily Condon from the Erie girls could make the podium. Both the Silver Creek and Niwot girls enter as regional champions, and Niwot will challenge Battle Mountain for the team title. The big local story here, however, will be a battle between Niwot and Centaurus for the boys team title. Centaurus edged Niwot for the Region 3 title and has incredible depth after lead runner Cooper Brown. Niwot has possibly the best 1-2 punch at the top in Cruz Culpepper and Ares Reading. There will be some fireworks when these local rivals get together one last time this fall.

Class 3A

Alyssa Wells and Holy Family have looked good this season, but the clear story here is Peak to Peak, as it has been for years now. Led by one of the top runners in the country in senior Quinn McConnell, who will be going for her third individual title this year, the Peak to Peak girls have a shot to win their third straight team title. The Pumas have several other top-tier talents in Anna Shults and Tiana Bradfield, and they won the Region 3 title last week by claiming the top four spots and five of the top 10. For the Pumas boys, junior William Ledden owns the third fastest time in 3A this season and will have a chance to fight for a top five spot alongside Holy Family’s Christian Montoya.

Class 2A

Though she doesn’t enter the state meet with the season’s top 2A time, Nederland’s Helen Cross does enter as the reigning state champion and knowing that she blew away the field when it mattered most in 2017. This year’s 2A girls race should be tighter, and there figures to be a tight grouping of local runners near the top of the podium. Cross, Lyons’ Katie Fankhouser and Dawson’s Lucca Fulkerson own the classification’s second, third and fourth fastest times, respectively. In the boys race, look for junior Isaac Roberts of Lyons to battle the likes of Telluride’s Jaden Evans, Custer County’s Micah Zeller and Heritage Christian’s Seth Bruxvoort for the individual title.

Brad Cochi: or