Many consider this past weekend to be the biggest weekend in Colorado cross country until State Meet due to the quality and size of the Liberty Bell and St. Vrain Invitationals. Denver East is one of the few schools that competes in both of these big meets.
LIBERTY BELL: The East Angels started off their weekend at the Liberty Bell Invitational on Friday, hosted by Heritage High School. True to expectations, this meet produced many personal bests. The varsity boys were led by senior Rafael Marmalejo-Daher in a personal best of 17:11. He was followed closely by freshman Asher Hoyt in 17:13, which was the 6th fastest time of any freshman in the Division 1 Varsity race. Also with life time bests were fellow freshmen Elijah Bruggeman in 18:51 and Kristian Laird in 19:01, junior Jackson Adams in 19:15, and freshman Liam Peck in 19:17. This very young team was 21st of 22 teams.
Junior Nell Salzman turned in the best time for the varsity girls with a strong 20:03. Sophomore Lilly Cory followed not far behind in a lifetime best of 20:23. Lindsey Weyant was the top freshman for East in 20:53, and for the third time in as many weeks junior Laurel Kruger ran a new personal best – this time a 21:20. The girls, all juniors or younger, were 16th of 21 teams.
In the JV boys race, the Angels saw underclassmen lead the day with sophomore Cole Finley-Ponds (19:29), freshman Ballard Kauffman (19:49), and sophomore Alex Zonca (19:57) each turn in personal best times over 5K. Junior Samantha Skeen, still obligated to run JV races this weekend and next due transfer rules, finished second overall in the girls JV race, followed by frosh Macie Moskowitz and Ann Lucy Buddenhagen, who each ran to personal best times. Maddie Scholtz and Mackenzie Whitehead-Bust rounded out the scorers for the JV squad, who finished 8th out of 18 teams in their division.
ST. VRAIN: On Saturday, the Angels traveled up to Lyons High School for the prestigious St. Vrain Invitational. Harrison Scudamore, who had skipped the Liberty Bell to concentrate on this race, led through much of the second mile, but would eventually fade to a 5th place finish in a seasonal best 16:08. Asher, Rafael and Elijah, who had all run hard and fast races the previous evening, followed in 64th, 66th and 181st. Junior Alex Weber was the 5th runner for the East boys who finished 17th in a field of 27 teams, of which 9 teams are currently ranked in the top 10 in Colorado in the 4A or 5A Divisions.
Sophomore Emily Turner, who had also run at Liberty Bell, had her strongest race of the season thus far, leading East in the varsity girls race with a 114th place finish. Not far behind, Lindsey (119th), Laurel (120th), Serene Mather (145th), Ann Lucy (174th), Maddie Solomon (180th) and Maddie Scholtz (207th) each followed up their Liberty Bell races with solid performances at St. Vrain. The team, depleted of its top two runners from the day before, finished 20th of 25 teams.
The boys JV race was highlighted by personal best times run by frosh Zach Abdulkadir (20:48) and juniors Mac Meeter (21:51) and Henry Kaufman (22:06). Along with Nicholas Panagos and Jack H. Thompson they led the Angels to 14th place out of 27 teams. The girls JV team was again led by Samantha Skeen in 11th. Allona Macrossie-Smith impressed in her cross country debut with a 36th place finish, followed by Sara Merman, Audrey McGlothlen, and Anna Clayton. Together they placed 7th of 30 teams in JV girls.
LOOKING AHEAD: On Friday the squad will split between the John F Kennedy Commander Cup at Bear Valley Park and the Arvada West Invite at the Stenger Soccer Complex. Both are smaller meets than this past week, but both offer fast courses good for running personal best times over 5K cross country.