The Niwot girls cross country team finished fifth overall at the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Glendover, Oregon, on Saturday — just the tip of the iceberg of a good day overall for local representatives.

Sophomore Taylor James, who finished second in the Class 4A state championship race back in October, led the Cougars girls with a 35th-place finish in the prestigious event, coming in with a time of 17 minutes, 48.5 seconds.

Also, Samrawit Dishon and Maggie Smith each placed within the top 100 to lead NHS toward the top of the team standings. Dishon finished in 18:20, and Smith was right behind her at 18:42. Eva Klingbeil was the fourth Cougar to come across, just eight seconds behind Smith and in 106th place.

The girls race also featured Peak to Peak’s Quinn McConnell, the girls runner of the year. A two-time high school champion in 3A, McConnell finished 31st on Saturday and as Colorado’s top placer, finishing in 17:45.

In the boys championship event, Niwot’s Ares Reading placed 17th overall and earned All-American status with his time of 15:19.1. Reading, a senior, finished second to teammate Cruz Culpepper in the 4A state boys race and will also compete next Saturday at the Foot Locker National Championships in San Diego, Calif.

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