LITTLETON — There is good chance the Class 5A boys cross country individual and team titles will be won by the Jeffco League in a couple of weeks in Colorado Springs.
Valor Christian junior Cole Sprout has been only building on his reputation after a remarkable sophomore campaign. Sprout grabbed the Class 4A boys cross country individual state, along with the 3,200 and 1,600 titles at the state track meet last spring. His success continued Thursday afternoon by winning the 5A boys race at the Jeffco League cross country championships.
“The focus was just to win it,” said Sprout, who won in a time of 15 minutes, 13 seconds at Clement Park in Littleton. “I was really happy with my time. It was a decent time on a pretty wet and muddy course.”
The weather was great during the four varsity races. However, rain and snow during the week left a few damp places on the course. It didn’t make much of a difference for Sprout or Dakota Ridge’s boys team.
The Eagles completely dominated the team race. Dakota Ridge placed five runners — Austin Vancil, Connor Ohlson, Benjamin Piegat, Jacob White and Riley Abrashoff — in the top-7 to win the 5A boys team title with a remarkable score of 23.
“We wanted to get as many guys first team all-conference as we could,” said Vancil, who finished 2nd individually. “I think we are pretty happy with the results.”
Vancil finished 4 seconds behind Sprout. He definitely was in position if Sprout would have made a mistake during the homestretch.
“We decided to chase him (Sprout). I didn’t want to let him go,” Vancil said. “I’m sure he was kind of coasting pretty easily. He wasn’t getting too far ahead, so I wanted to keep him within 5 seconds ahead or so.”
Ohlson finished third with a time of 15:43.
“Austin and Connor ran really good races. That was good to see,” Sprout said. “It’s awesome to have some guys to run and race. It’s nice to have those guys pushing me.”
In the 4A boys race, Green Mountain sophomore Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos won the individual title and Golden edged Littleton for the team crown.
There were two familiar faces to win the 5A and 4A girls races. Lakewood senior Carley Bennett was all smiles as she crossed the finish line to win her third individual league title. Wheat Ridge senior Tiya Chamberlin has been in the mix for four years and won her second straight 4A Jeffco title.
Valor (5A) and D’Evelyn (4A) came away with the girls team titles.
“Every year we are one of the best leagues,” said Chamberlin, who is the daughter of longtime Wheat Ridge coaches Scott and Judy Chamberlin. “I have total respect for these girls and that is what pushed me to that next level. Coming here I knew I was going to face some serious competition.”
The next serious competition will be at regionals next week. Jeffco teams will fan out across the state in an attempt to qualify for the state cross country championships to be held Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs.
“Once regionals hit I think everything will settle in,” Vancil said of the Eagles going in as the likely favorite to win the 5A boys state team title. “That championship mindset will come in and we’ll be focused on that team state title. We are looking forward to the next two weeks.”
Dakota Ridge will compete at the 5A Region 2 meet Thursday, Oct. 18, at Aurora Sports Park.