LITTLETON — Dakota Ridge’s boys cross country team simply flew past the competition Thursday afternoon at Clement Park.
The Eagles went one-two in the individual standings at the Class 5A Jeffco League championships and also took the team title. Junior Austin Vancil repeated his individual title by edging sophomore teammate Connor Ohlson at the line.
“He (Ohlson) has been beating me the rest season,” Vancil said. “I had to get at least one on him. I pushed at the very end. It was pretty cool.”
Besides Vancil and Ohlson, the Eagles had their next three runners — Mark Testa, Ben Piegat and Ben Morrin — place in the top-11. Dakota Ridge easily cruised to dethrone three-time defending conference champion Arvada West. A-West’s top runner was senior Andres Perez, he placed 5th.
“Most definitely,” Vancil said when asked if the league dominance was what Dakota Ridge had in mind. “We haven’t won in something like the last seven years. We wanted to come in and take the win.”
The Eagles now turn their attention to regionals next Thursday, Oct. 19 at Northwest Open Spaces in Northglenn. Vancil added that Dakota Ridge is zeroing in on a top-3 team finish at state.
The 5A girls side also had a repeat individual champion. Lakewood junior Carley Bennett battled the 70-degree temperatures to cruise to an 11-second margin of victory over Arvada West senior Claire Pauley.
“To defend the title felt amazing,” said Bennett, who added she is hoping for a top-10 finish at state in a few weeks in Colorado Springs.
A-West girls did grab its third straight team title at the league championships. Pauley, Katie Doucette, Amber Valdez and Civianna Gallegos — all seniors — all placed in the top-7.
“We love coming to league. This is always our most confident race. We are really proud of what we did today,” Pauley said. “It gives us more confidence going into regionals.”
On the 4A girls side, Wheat Ridge junior Tiya Chamberlin’s time of 18:52 was good enough to give her the individual title a year after she was nipped at the line by Green Mountain’s Kasey Klocek.
“It was very motivating,” Chamberlin said coming off her runner-up at the league championships a year ago. “I wanted to keep pushing that pace. I didn’t let myself drop at the line. I drove through the line.”
Chamberlin said that running against the likes of Klocek, Littleton’s Addi Iken and Valor Christian’s Keely Jones has pushed her get better over the years. Iken placed 2nd, Klocek took 3rd and Jones finished 6th.
Golden’s junior Mary Fox (4th) and freshman Jadyn Goodrich (5th) helped propel the Demons to the team title. Most of the 4A Jeffco teams will race in the 4A Region 1 meet in Frisco next Thursday.
“It’s helped me a lot,” Chamberlin said running against talented girls in 4A Jeffco. “You can’t loose sight of girls and you can’t loose track of your own goals. You can’t be lazy. It’s an awesome mutual relationship we have. We really respect each other and are great friends on and off the course.”
Standley Lake’s edged D’Evelyn and Evergreen to take the team title in the 4A boys’ side. Seniors Cody Dewitt (5th), Nicholas Shipe (9th) and junior Noah Hendrix (8th) led the way for the Gators.
Valor sophomore Cole Sprout won the individual title being the lone 4A boys runner to be under the 16-minute mark.