Boulder Daily Camera
LITTLETON – This year’s Liberty Bell Invitational was an eventful one for the Niwot cross country team, and little bit all over the place as well.
First, the Cougars’ girls team placed fourth in a loaded Sweepstakes race despite a couple of Cougars runners missing the race including Samrawit Dishon, who was pulled from the course because of foot pain. Then, the Niwot boys also placed fourth in a Sweepstakes race dominated by a meet record time of 14 minutes, 38.4 seconds from Valor Christian’s Cole Sprout.
Finally, sophomore transfer Lucca Fulkerson, who has to sit out all of 2019 per the CHSAA transfer rules, won what could have been one of the fastest junior varsity races in the nation and included a pair of talented Valor Christian transfer runners in Fulkerson’s same situation.
“Fourth without two or three NXN girls running isn’t too bad,” Niwot head coach Kelly Christensen said. “And Lucca probably would have been our top girl today but she’s running JV this season. So it was a bit of a strange day but we did better than we did here last year, so we’ll take it I guess.
“Samri just has some joint and ligament pain in her feet because she switched shoes last week. She’ll be fine but I could tell it was affecting her running form so I just grabbed her off with about 1,200 to go because she’s competitive and would never leave on her own.”
Without Dishon, Niwot was led on the Heritage High School neighborhood course by sophomore Eva Klingbeil, who placed 21st with a time of 18:35.2. She was just behind Fairview’s Kinsey Hall, placed 20th in 18:32.7.
Amelia Philofky was the next Niwot finisher, placing 27th in 18:43.1. She crossed the finish line behind Fairview’s Aloha Churchill, who was 24th in 18:39.8, Monarch’s Julia Mainland, who was 25th in 18:42.7, and Peak to Peak’s Allison Beasley, who was 26th in 18:43.1. Rawlins High School’s Sydney Thorvaldson set a course record of 16:40.6 while placing first and Cherry Creek won the girls team title.
“I didn’t really have a plan, I just kind of raced like I always do,” Klingbeil said. “I feel pretty good about it and I didn’t expect to be the first finisher from my team. This was our first 5K race of the season and it’s really early so I think our team did pretty well.”
In the boys’ Sweepstakes race, Monarch’s Henry Little placed 12th with a time of 15:35.8. Fairview’s Henry Murphy placed 14th in 15:42.5 and Peak to Peak’s William Ledden placed 15th in 15:43.6. Fort Collins won the team competition.