Girls cross country state championships: Peak to Peak turns in huge effort to win 3A team race

peak to peak cross country team

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)

COLORADO SPRINGS — Peak to Peak set out with a lofty goal.

The Pumas finished 1-2-3 in the 3A girls cross country race to go on to win the team title, lead by junior Quinn McConnell.

"We wanted to go 1-2-3. We wanted to make a statement like that," McConnell said. "We've been doing it the past few races. I'm so happy for Tiana (Bradfield) who got it done."

McConnell entered into the stadium ahead of her teammates, turning in a time of 18:31.6. Teammates Anna Shults and Bradfield followed.

"We've worked hard and wanted this all season," McConnell said. "It was something that we knew we could do. We came here and executed it today."

Peak to Peak, with three juniors and one freshman running, took the team title with 82 points.

"We have a lot left that we haven't shown," McConnell said. "We have some really big goals. This is just a stepping stone, and I'm super excited for what we can do."

Steamboat Springs (101) and Classical Academy (120) rounded out the top three teams.

Nederland's Helen Cross sets meet record in 2A

Nederland cross country Helen Cross

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Nederland sophomore Helen Cross didn't expect to be on top of the podium.

Cross, a sophomore, set a cross country state meet record for Class 2A with a time of 18:52 — beating the record by 55 seconds. 

"I really wanted to do that," Cross said. "I didn't know that was going to happen this season. I was not expecting that at all. It's exciting."

Cross set out to keep up with Telluride senior Soleil Gaylord on the course.

"I thought I would keep up with Soleil," Cross said. "I was going to try to stay behind her. I didn't really have a set plan necessarily."

She kept up with Gaylord, and then turned it up to take the win.

Gaylord finished behind her with a time of 19:09. In third, Cross' teammate Sarah Davidson finished at 19:29.9 to give Nederland a boost in the team race.

"Sarah, she's been trying to break 20:00 her whole career," Cross said. "And now, she's a senior and she just did it."

The Panthers won the girls team title with a score of 24. Nederland edged out Paonia (30) and Lyons (33).

Battle Mountain grabs 4A team title behind Elizabeth Constien

Battle mountain cross country Elizabeth Constien

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Battle Mountain's Elizabeth Constien and Palmer Ridge's Isabella Prosceno were tied, unoficially, at the second mile of the 4A girls race.

Constien found something in her to push the last stretch of the race and take the 4A girls title.

"All I had to do was want it and pull ahead," Constien said. "I managed to go just fast enough to put a gap on me and Isabella. She really made me push. I thought she was going to catch me, and I wanted to make sure that I didn't get in my head.

"I basically sprinted for 800 meters as fast as I could go."

It was her sister that gave her the motivation to keep going forward and give it her all.

"My sister was here today," Constien said. "She stood right before the corner into the woods. She just reminded me how much I wanted this."

In her senior year, Constien captured the individual and team titles for Battle Mountain.

"I can't even believe it," Constien said. "I wanted this so much and I didn't think I was going to get it. I'm so happy."

Palmer Ridge (157) finished in second ahead of third-place Durango (165).

Mountain Vista takes 5A team title with 1-2 finish

Mountain Vista cross country jenna fitzsimmons

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Mountain Vista took the top two spots in the 5A girls race to take the team title.

Sophomore Jenna Fitzsimmons came in first at 18:10.3, followed by her teammate Caroline Eck.

"My legs were burning, but I kept telling myself, 'Do it for the team. Do it for the team,'" Fitzsimmons said. "I was saying it over and over again in my head."

Fitzsimmons and Eck embraced next to the finish line.

"It was so good to have them next to me," Fitzsimmons said. "To all be next to eachother, I don't think I could have finished without them there."

Fitzsimmons made a final push after the second mile to get out ahead and cross the finish line in first place.

"One of the hardest parts was, after the two mile, knowing how close you were," Fitzsimmons. "You had to keep going and really put in the work."

As a result of Fitzsimmons and Eck's strong effort, Mountain Vista swept the boys and girls team titles. The girls had a score of 64.

Broomfield (92) came in second, while Rock Canyon (164) finished in third place.