LITTLETON — The original plan for Dakota Ridge sophomore Austin Vancil was just to stay with the pack during the Class 5A boys race during the Jeffco League cross country championships at Clement Park on Thursday.
In the end, Vancil was ahead of everyone.
“I just came in thinking I should stay in the back of the pack during the whole race and hopefully be able to keep up with these guys,” Vancil said. “I got up to the top of the final hill and I felt really good. I made the move and held it.”
Vancil edged Arvada West junior Colin Berndt by six seconds to claim the 5A Jeffco boys individual title. The sophomore admitted he was a little shocked with the victory.
“Of course I wanted too, but I never thought it would actually happen,” Vancil said. “That was pretty cool.”
The Wildcats were pretty cool for the third straight league championship meet. The A-West boys claimed its third-straight 5A Jeffco team title.
Berndt, seniors Max Sevcik, Justin Andrade, Marshall Haymond, junior Andres Perez and sophomore Drew Craig all finished in the top 16. A-West easily distanced itself from Dakota Ridge, who placed second.
A-West’s girls team claimed back-to-back team titles by placing five runners — Katie Doucette, Civianna Gallegos, Claire Pauley, Amber Valdez and Lucy Schroeder — in the top 9.
“It’s pretty exciting,” A-West cross country coach Todd Moore said of the Wildcats doubling down on league team titles for the second straight year. “All these kids were on last year’s team. I think we trained 49 or 50 weeks in the last year. These kids were here everyday working hard and trying to do it again.”
Lakewood sophomore Carley Bennett battled through the warm conditions to win the 5A girls individual title. Bennett passed Dakota Ridge junior Michelle Renner in the final 100 meters to win.
“I knew if I was already working that hard and already that tired I might as well work a little hard,” Bennett said.
On the 4A side, Green Mountain freshman Kasey Klocek pulled out the win in what was the closest finish of the four varsity races. Klocek raced past Wheat Ridge sophomore Tiya Chamberlin at the finish line to win by less than a second.
Evergreen girls claimed the team title edging out Wheat Ridge by a single point — 73 to 74. Senior Brandon Swenson, who finished second last year at the league championships, cruised to the 4A boys individual title for the Cougars.
“The race was great. I took it a little easy at the start,” Swenson said. “It felt really good.”
Swenson, who placed seventh at the state meet last year, is now eyeing a strong regional meet performance next week and has lofty expectations heading into state.
“My goal is top 5 at state or just win,” Swenson said. “That’s all I’m looking for.”
Jeffco League Cross Country Championship results
Class 5A boys
Team: Arvada West 38, Dakota Ridge 59, Ralston Valley 86, Chatfield 88, Columbine 115, Lakewood 125, Pomona 218, Bear Creek 229
1. Austin Vancil, Dakota Ridge, 16:24
2. Colin Berndt, Arvada West, 16:30
3. Chase Dornbusch, Lakewood, 16:36
4. Jerod Kuhn, Columbine, 16:44
5. Max Sevcik, Arvada West, 16:52
6. Benton Meldrum, Dakota Ridge, 16:56
7. Justin Andrade, Arvada West, 17:00
8. Gavin Jones, Ralston Valley, 17:08
Class 5A girls
Team: Arvada West 33, Chatfield 70, Dakota Ridge 71, Lakewood 95, Ralston Valley 100, Columbine 162, Bear Creek 192, Pomona 242
1. Carley Bennett, Lakewood, 19:04
2. Michelle Renner, Dakota Ridge, 19:10
3. Hannah Mae Gigstad, Ralston Valley, 19:29
4. Katie Doucette, Arvada West, 19:32
5. Civianna Gallegos, Arvada West, 19:38
6. Sydney Williams, Chatfield, 19:43
7. Claire Pauley, Arvada West, 19:50
8. Amber Valdez, Arvada West, 20:17
Class 4A boys
D’Evelyn 49, Evergreen 54, Standley Lake 75, Littleton 108, Green Mountain 136, Valor Christian 154, Golden 161, Wheat Ridge 180
1. Brandon Swenson, Evergreen, 16:35
2. Trevor Smith, Standley Lake, 16:50
3. Weston Donati-Leach, Evergreen, 16:51
4. Christian Sapakoff, Littleton, 16:54
5. Lucas Jordon, D’Evelyn, 16:57
6. Jace Pivonka, Green Mountain, 17;01
7. Drew Seidel, Wheat Ridge, 17:04
8. Nate MacDonald, D’Evelyn, 17:12
Class 4A girls
Evergreen 73, Wheat Ridge 74, Golden 86, Standley Lake 90, Green Mountain 119, D’Evelyn 137, Valor Christian 138, Littleton 180
1. Kasey Klocek, Green Mountain, 19:03
2. Tiya Chamberlin, Wheat Ridge, 19:03
3. Keely Jones, Valor Christian, 19:25
4. Amy Leasure, Wheat Ridge, 19:36
5. Addi Iken, Littleton, 19:41
6. Rachel Goodrich, Golden, 19:45
7. Tomah Whitney, Evergreen, 19:46
8. Mary Fox, Golden, 19:46