Cross country sub-committee recommends keeping state meet at Norris-Penrose

State cross country

The finish line at the Norris-Penrose Event Center. (CHSAANow.com file photo)

AURORA — The cross country host site sub-committee is recommending that the state meet continue to be held at the Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs for the 2015-18 seasons.

It wasn't a decision made lightly. The committee deliberated for four hours on Tuesday before ultimately deciding to keep the race at Norris-Penrose, where it has been for the past three seasons.

"We like that Norris-Penrose features varied terrain, and is a challenge to runners — as a state championship course should be," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Jenn Roberts-Uhlig, who administers cross country. "This was not an easy decision. It came down to was a variety of components that CHSAA has to look at, including the venue itself, accommodations, parking, and the location of the site.

"(Cheyenne Mountain athletic director) Kris (Roberts) and the Cheyenne Mountain community have done a wonderful job hosting at Norris-Penrose over the last three seasons. They continue to listen to the needs of the cross country community, and the meet gets better each year."

The sub-committee is also recommending course changes to Norris-Penrose ahead of next year's races to address some of the concerns regarding the course.

"We'll be looking at everything in order to make sure it's the best race possible for our student-athletes," Roberts-Uhlig said.

Three other sites submitted bids: Lyons High School, the Island Grove Park in Greeley and D'Evelyn High School. The committee made site visits to each location this summer, and also visited races at each site during the season.

"While all of the sites have positive features, especially those individuals who would support running the event, Norris-Penrose met all of our facility needs, including nearby accommodations and ease of travel," Roberts-Uhlig said.

The cross country host site sub-committee is made up of eight members, including school administrators, coaches, rules interpreters and former state site hosts.

"A lot of time went into this — and it wasn't just the four hours (on Tuesday)," Roberts-Uhlig said. "Each committee member made site visits, reached out to coaches across the state, and took a lot of time to consider the best host for the next four seasons.

"I couldn't have asked for a better committee to handle the task that was given in such a professional and unbiased manner."

The recommendation to keep the championships at Norris-Penrose will need to be approved by CHSAA's board of directors, which next meets on Jan. 28, 2015.