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Cross country: Shining Mountain’s Olivia Jabari qualifies for state meet after picking up only fall sports option

Notes on local runners preparing this week for Saturday’s event in Colorado Springs

Shining Mountain's Olivia Jabari poses at ...
Photo courtesy Shining Mountain athletics
Shining Mountain’s Olivia Jabari poses at her placement stage after finishing fourth at the Class 2A Region 1 meet in Lyons on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020

The Colorado high school cross country championships annually features the top distance runners from across the state and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

With the various sports’ seasons getting shuffled around in Colorado, this fall’s state meet will also include a number of competitors who otherwise would have dedicated their efforts to other sports. Shining Mountain senior Olivia Jabari, for example, participates in many sports at her school but never before ran cross country.

But since volleyball was moved to the spring, Jabari thought she’d give cross country a try and qualified for state for her last fall season. On Saturday, she will wrap up her one and only high school cross country season as the sole harrier representing her school at state.

“It was a great opportunity to be able to participate in four sports this year since I usually do volleyball in the fall,” Jabari said. “I had a lot of fun with my team. We were all really supportive, we worked really hard and we made the most of the time we have. It’s exciting but I’m a little bit nervous because I haven’t run in high school before. I honestly have no idea what to expect but it’s really exciting so I’m just going to go down there and do my best.”

A year-round athlete, Jabari does volleyball, basketball and track and field. Cross country, however, is the only sport Shining Mountain currently offered for the fall of 2020.

She placed fourth at regionals to qualify for the state championships in her first and only try, and Jabari is now one of the state’s top runners heading to Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs this weekend.

Seven double up

The coverage area has long been a hotbed for distance running, so it’s no surprise it produced several teams with enough depth of talent to compete for a team title at state.

In Class 5A, Fairview and Broomfield will both boys and girls send squads down to Colorado Springs. In 2019, Fairview finished top 10 in both the girls and boys competition, while the Broomfield girls placed seventh.

In both Class 4A races, Niwot will be heavily featured after sweeping both team championships, as well as both individual titles, last fall.

Holy Family will compete in both 3A team races, as will Jefferson Academy and Prospect Ridge. As usual, Lyons will have full teams in both 2A races.

Riding solo

Unusual for the teams they compete for, Boulder’s Lukas Haug, Legacy’s Mia Mraz and Ryan Montera, Mead’s Keegan Caldwell, Centaurus’ Maggie McCleskey, Peak to Peak’s Allison Beasley and Ryan Kuykendall and Dawson School’s Finn Carpenter will be their programs’ lone racers in 2020.

Fairview’s Murphy, Legacy’s Montera on pace for medal stand

There are some truly dominant, nationally-ranked runners competing in the Class 5A boys race on Saturday. While he might not be the favorite to win, Fairview senior Henry Murphy is a near lock to take home some hardware with a good race.

Entering the meet, Murphy has the sixth fastest 5K time in the state after running a 15:34.33 at the LHS Sweetheart Varsity meet on Sept. 25.

Montera enters the meet with the ninth fastest time, a 15:41.50 that he ran at the Northfield-Legacy Dual on Aug. 22.

What will Taylor James do?

The Niwot girls are ranked No. 8 in the nation by and a big reason for that is senior Taylor James. Despite battling injury early in the season, she’ll be a top contender for the Cougars in 4A race this Saturday.

But wait, there’s more…

There are a total of seven local teams that qualified either a boys or girls team for the state meet. Those teams include the Centaurus boys, Erie boys, Longmont boys, Silver Creek girls, Twin Peaks Charter boys and Mead girls.