Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD – Mia Mraz was incredibly excited for the Broomfield Battle cross country meet but Thursday turned out to be a bigger day than the Legacy junior expected.
Because she injured her hip this summer after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled spring sports in Colorado, Broomfield Battle marked the first time Mraz was able to race since last fall. Simply overjoyed to have the opportunity to run competitively, Mraz let loose. She ran the race as freely and as fast as she could.
And she won the first race of her prep career.
“It’s really nice to be able to come back and be able to race,” Mraz said. “This being the first time I’ve won a race was really cool. I definitely thought I was going to get passed on the hill but then it didn’t happen.”
Mraz, who placed 81st in the Class 5A race at last year’s state championships, completed the course at Broomfield High School in 21 minutes, 26.5 seconds. She led nearly the entire race and while she expected to be passed, still finished 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Maya Ross (21:46.5) from Jefferson Academy.
With Mraz leading the way and Peyton Meier (21:51.3) placing third, the Legacy girls also won the overall team championship. Jefferson Academy was second, Broomfield was third and Prospect Ridge was fourth.
In the boys race, it was no surprise to see Ryan Montera continue the torrid pace with which he has attacked the 2020 campaign thus far. With a time of 16:02.7, the Legacy senior crossed the finish line more than 42 seconds ahead of runner-up Jacob Crookston (16:45.2) from Jefferson Academy.
It wasn’t quite an pleasing as the personal-best 15:41 he ran in a season-opening dual meet with Northfield last Saturday, but Montera was still happy with the victory.
“I had a great race to start the season and I’ve been working really hard the entire summer and through track season on my own,” Montera said. “I’m really happy with that time and my effort. It’s been all effort and all thanks to my team driving me there. It’s two wins under the belt so it’s so far, so good.”
Montera’s individual win helped the Legacy boys claim a team title and complete the Broomfield Battle sweep. The Jefferson Academy boys also were runners-up, followed by Prospect Ridge and Broomfield.
Overall, several runners remarked at how difficult the course was and how strange it still is to only be able to have 25 runners wearing masks out on the course at one time. But Montera said he enjoyed the challenge and that most everyone was simply glad to be back competing.
“It’s definitely a cross country course and the most ‘cross-countriest’ course I’ve raced in a while,” Montera said. “There’s a lot of grass out there and some good hills so I was definitely pleased with the setup. I just think when it comes to these races, it’s more fun to push myself against the elements and whatever I have ahead of me.”