COLORADO SPRINGS — Running in the shadow of an older sibling comes with a lot of pressure. There is pressure to live up to the expectations and even surpass them.
Going into Saturday’s state meet, Mason Norman was had to follow what his brother Tanner had done in the previous two years. It was only fitting that it was Tanner who called to give advice on how to attack the Class 3A boys cross country state race.
“He called me last night and told me what I should do and what I should need,” Mason said.
Mason came in with a time of 15:56.7 to win the 3A boys race and help The Classical Academy to a 3A team championship along the way.
It’s the first team title for the Titans since 2011, but Norman wasn’t initially sure if the boys did what they needed to grab
“I know that they didn’t have the best races they were hoping for,” he said. “I know they were still working hard and they did what they could.
It turned out to be enough. Ryan Moen placed 11th and Canaan Lamberth took 14th to help TCA come away with gold.
Norman is the only runner on the boys side to win both an individual and team title.
5A: Perry breaks teammate's record, Mountain Vista sweeps team titles
At the start of the boys cross country state race, everyone was living in Isaac Green’s shadow.
By the end of the race, Charlie Perry was the new standard for Monarch. Perry cruised through the finish line, setting a 5A meet record at 15 minutes, 36.8 seconds. Perry was a part of last year’s state championship team and used that one time of running the course at the Norris-Penrose Event Center to the best of his advantage.
“I had a little bit of an idea (of the course layout),” Perry said. “All I knew is once you get to the water, you go all out and there’s not that much left. Once I hit the water today I tried to push because you’ll always regret it if someone passes you in the last little bit.”
He didn’t have to live with that regret. In the event’s first overall race of the day, the only thing he could see ahead of him was the finish line and a first-place medal.
Mountian Vista came away with the 5A team title as Carter Dillon, Shayan Zarrin, Parker Mackay, Caden Foster and Ethan Rouse all finished in the top 135
Dillon had the best individual finish for the Golden Eagles, taking fifth overall. Rock Canyon is the 2017 team runner-up, led by Chris Theodore who finished second overall.
Perry and his Coyote teammates grabbed a top-four finish, but were unable to defend their title.
2A: Lyons takes team title as Soroco's Ben Kelly fends for himself
Soroco’s Ben Kelly has always been a lone wolf at state cross country. One of the disadvantages of running at a small school is that it’s not always possible for a full team to make it, even with one standout runner leading the pack.
“I’ve never had a team at state before,” Kelly said. “We actually had our first team this year and it was fun at regionals, but unfortunately we didn’t have any guys make it to state. So I’m sure there is a (difference in mentality), I’m not acquainted enough running with a team to know what that feels like.”
He just has to run for himself. And on Saturday, he ran a himself a championship performance. He finished in 16:06.5 to claim the 2A boys championship.
It has been a tough year for him as he’s battled through a foot injury that forced him to miss half the season.
To prepare for state, he found other means of endurance training, which his new first-place medal show paid off in the long run.
“It’s been kind of a weird season,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of biking and aqua jogging and not spending as much time running like I usually do.”
Isaac Roberts led Lyons to its fifth title in six years. Roberts finished eight seconds behind Kelly to take second overall.
Heritage Christian claimed second place as junior Seth Bruxvoort finished at a team-high fourth place.
4A: Valor Christian's Cole Sprout aims high in championship win
Cole Sprout isn’t one to set low expectations. Coming into Saturday’s state cross country meet, he only had a few things in mind that he was hoping to accomplish.
“Coming into the race, my goal was to win and maybe break the course record of 15:33,” he said.
The 4A mark coming into the event was 15:50.4, set by TCA’s Tanner Norman in 2015. Sprout cleared it by eight seconds as he claimed the win for the 4A boys. Sprout went into the race with a simple plan that would keep him at the head of the pack and give him a chance to break away when he needed to.
“My goal was to go the first mile with the top guys and feel out that pace,” Sprout said. “I had to save myself for that second mile and that’s where I kicked it up.”
Sprout’s win gives Valor Christian its state cross country title for either a team or an individual. The team overall finished 10th and it was Palmer Ridge who was eventually awarded the big trophy.
Ryan Matson finished fifth overall, the highest finisher of the day for the Bears. Kieran Nay, Maxwell Herebic and Jonathan Wolf all finished within four spots of each and in the top 20.
It is the second consecutive team title for Palmer Ridge and its third overall as a program.