Cheyenne Mountain Stampede gives cross country runners a sneak peek at state venue

(Dan Mohrmann/

COLORADO SPRINGS — Runners from all four classifications got a chance to test their race at the course the state cross country championships will be held in October.

The annual Cheyenne Mountain Stampede was all day Friday at the Norris-Penrose Event Center.

Running at the state meet venue "really helps us with our times, because you can set a mark for that state meet when you're here," said Rocky Ford's Cody Danley, who finished second at state a year ago to Custer County's Jerald Taylor. (Taylor has since graduated.)

Danley won the Class 2A boys race with a time of 17:22.6, 30 seconds faster than Telluride's Jaden Evans, who was second. Danley's effort also helped pace his team to a win in the 2A boys division with 12 points.

"We'll know what to go for and try and beat and do our best to beat out there," Danley added.

While every team didn't attend, the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede drew a large number of teams. Still, Danley said he knows more competition is out there.

"I know there's going to be a lot more competition at the state meet, and that's what I'm looking for," he said. "I like it. It helps me push."

(Dan Mohrmann/

Colorado Academy senior Anna Ponzio won the 3A girls race in 19:59.6. Alamosa's Lilly Lavier was second in 20:40.8.

The Holy Family girls won the 3A race, led by Alyssa Wells, a freshman, who finished third in 20:52.2.

"I've been training really hard this summer, and I knew I wanted to get out fast," Ponzio said. "My coaches told me to stay with the top group. I got out, and I was in the lead, and I just felt really good.

"It helped me so much mentally, because I've been really struggling," she continued. "After last year's state (meet), I really want to come out and run a great race."

Ponzio was 15th at last year's state meet.

St. Mary's won the 2A girls team race, led by seniors Hannah McReavy (20:08.5) and Ana Muehlbauer (21:35.1), who placed first and second, respectively.

Lamar's Blake Davis won the 3A boys race in 17:09.5, and Gunnison's Colton Stice (17:20.3) took second place. Faith Christian won the team race, led by junior Macklin Brockmeyer, who was fifth with a time of 17:44.7.

In 5A girls, Legacy sophomore Brynn Siles topped the field in 18:21.9. Thornton senior Stephanie Carrasco was second in 19:29.9. Rocky Mountain won the team race, with junior Julia Schlepp placing third.

Battle Mountain was the top team in the 4A girls field, finishing with 49 points. The Huskies had five runners in the top 14, led by junior Lizzy Harding in seventh place.

Air Academy swept the top two places in that race, with sophomore Tatum Miller (19:30.1) winning and junior Paige Embaugh (19:34.9) taking second.

In 5A boys, Legend senior Landon Rast led his Titans to the team title by winning the individual race in 16:46.5. Douglas County's Michael Long was second in 16:53.9.

In the final race of the day, Cheyenne Mountain held serve at its own invite. The school won the team race, and senior Thomas Chaston captured the individual event in 16:27.4. Air Academy junior Cal Banta (16:27.8) was second.