Niwot's Cranny shatters meet mark in taking 4A cross country crown

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Elise Cranny lived up to the hype.

The Niwot High School senior is considered one of the nation's top runners and showed why Saturday at the Norris Penrose Events Center.

The senior set a course record with an 18.07.8 time to win her second consecutive Class 4A girls state cross country championship.

"This was my last state cross country meet and I wanted to enjoy it," Cranny said. "The hill was much harder than I remembered. I wanted to run faster and break 18 (minutes), but this is fine."

Cranny did shatter the previous 3.2-mile course record at the Norris Penrose Events Center. The old mark was 18:16.5 set by Pine Creek's Heather Bates last year.

"This was exciting," Cranny said. "I had to just keep going hard."

For the second year in a row, Katie Ransberger took second to Cranny. The sophomore came in at 18:47.4 on Saturday.

"It felt great," Ransberger said. "Elise is one of the top runners in the nation and she pulled off an amazing race. I can't be sad about coming in second to her. She is a phenomenal runner."

This was Cranny's fifth state title as she has won the 800, mile and two-mile crowns in track.

In the girls 4A team race, Thompson Valley won the team title with 135 points.

“This feels really awesome,” said Thompson Valley coach Matt Norton said. “We felt like coming into the season we had a team that could pull something like this off. We kind of had a roller-coaster season, but they ran absolutely their best race as a team.”

This was Thompson Valley’s fourth girls cross country state title.

On the boys 4A side, once Liam Meirow took the lead late in in the race he found the winning gear.

The Summit High School senior sped to the finish line in a dead sprint to capture the coveted title in 16:27.1 seconds.

"That was the roughest race I ever had, but I didn't give up," Meirow said moments after claiming his first state cross country state championship. "I was able to keep progressing my speed throughout the race."

The 6-foot-1, 140-pound Meirow said he took the lead in the 3.2-mile race from Pueblo Centennial's Michael Duran with a half-mile remaining.

"This race went out perfectly," said Meirow, whose previous best state cross country finish was 10th last year. "You always underestimate the pain, but you have to push it no matter what. If I'm confident in anything it is my finishing kick. I knew I could hold everybody off and win."

Broomfield's Ethan Gonzalez was right on Meirow's heels finishing in 16:29.6. Centennial's Duran was third at 16:43.4.

"I was toe-to-toe with Liam when we turned into the stadium, but I had nothing left,"  said Gonzales, a senior. "I gave it everything I had. I have no regrets."

Broomfield did get a measure of revenge winning the team title with 89 points.  The Classical Academy was second with 123 points.

"We did something special as a team," Gonzales said.

Ricardo Ocampo, Gonzales' teammate,  came in seventh.

"We all did our best and it us great to win it," Ocampo , a senior, said.

This was Broomfield's first state boys cross country title in school history.

“This was a very big deal for us,” Broomfield coach Greg Weich said. “Ethan and Ricardo did a great job for us was our depth.”