The Norman brothers have a stronghold on the state cross country competition at the Norris Penrose Event Center.
Mason, the younger sibling of Tanner, shattered the elder’s Class 3A course record of 15 minutes, 44 seconds from 2016 with a 15:33 in clinching back-to-back state crowns on Saturday. Salida senior Camden Gillis (16:18) was the runner-up.
The stalwarts from The Classical Academy have now won a combined four individual championships in a row as Tanner earned titles in 4A in 2015 and 3A in 2016.
In a bit of a surprise though, Kaylee Thompson matched the brothers with another crown for TCA, who was in for a championship frenzy as Titan competitors Katie Flaherty (5th place), Kennedy McDonald (6th), Rebecca Thompson (8th), and Sarah Burroughs (14th) also helped lift the program to their first team title since a 10-year winning streak from 2003-2012.
Their 34 points bettered Peak to Peak’s 97, the two-time defending champions.
But, before The Classical Academy girls left their mark on the 2018 state meet, Mason Norman entered the stadium ahead of the pack.
“It definitely did inspire me,” Mason said of seeing his brother taste victory at state. “I remember watching him win his junior year in a really tight race and his senior year, I ran with him and it was exciting where he had gone with running.”
Only a junior, Mason snatched his first cross country title with a six-second margin. His triumph was much more decisive this time around.
“Last year, coming into state I knew that I could maybe do it,” he said. “I knew I was going to have to gun it through to the finish to hang on to it. This year, I was really hoping to make a break early on in the race. Coming up to the first mile, I started to pull away a bit and I tried to stretch it out.”
With his sights set on winning more than time, Mason wasn’t sure of the classification course record mark.
“I didn’t really know exactly what it was,” the latest superstar harrier for TCA admitted.
Nonetheless, the record added to an illustrious career for Mason, who will be in search of a third individual crown as a senior. As a team, the Titans were the defending champions but settled for third (107 points) behind Peak to Peak (76) and Salida (80) on Saturday.
Now a veteran in the prep running scene, the younger Norman got a chance to watch a relative newcomer taste gold when Thompson (18:19) overtook the Peak to Peak twosome of Anna Shults (2nd place, 18:37) and Quinn McConnell (18:43, 3rd place).
Thompson, with a background in soccer and basketball, signed up for cross country for the first time as a junior and earned 10th at the state meet. She wouldn’t be denied this year.
“I was just trying to catch Quinn McConnell and try to get up with her,” Thompson said. “I made my move in the last half mile. I was nervous that I might not have enough energy left to finish, but I just kept pushing.”
McConnell led much of the race before Thompson overtook her and even shattered the classification course record herself.
A Brigham Young University recruit, the senior was ecstatic seeing three other teammates finish in the top 10. One was her sister, Rebecca, who was eighth as a junior.
“It’s amazing,” Thompson said of her sister also nabbing all-state honors. “I wish I could run every season with her.”
The Classical Academy girls have now won 11 cross country championships, a Colorado record.
As for the Pumas of Peak to Peak, the boys secured their first state championship by a thin margin over Salida. An entire varsity contingent returned from last year’s third place team.
William Ledden (3rd place), Justin Hager (14th), Ethan Monarski (16th), Ryan Kuykendall (21st), and Cole Beasley (22nd) broke new ground for a standout program from Lafayette. Coach Kim McConnell has earned three overall team championships with the program.
The wave of green and white from the spring carried all the way into October for Heritage Christian.
After clinching their fifth 1A championship in boys track and field in May, the Eagles topped everyone in 2A cross country, winning the crown in Colorado Springs with a mere 12 points.
Seth Bruxvoort (1st place, 16:09) and Levi Killian (4th, 16:55) led the Eagles’ contingent as the long hair and smooth stride of Bruxvoort, and the more aggressive looking form of Killian (800, 1,600, 3,200 champion in 1A track), proved to be an overwhelming one-two punch. Keaton Case rounded up the scoring for the Eagles in eighth.
Lyons girls were just as convincing in victory as junior Katie Fankhouser (19:24) and freshman Quin Gregg (19:36) crossed the finish line faster than anyone else in 2A, all but ensuring Lyons of a second girls team championship in school history (2014 winners).
Sophomore Hannah Thomas (12th) was the final scorer for Lyons, one of many Boulder County challengers throughout the divisions and a program that has also seized five boys titles in the past seven years. The boys were the runner-up this time with 38 points as Isaac Roberts finished third.
Platte Canyon (43 points), led by Emma Dikken (6th), was second in the girls team competition.