The East Angels started the week by bringing a large squad to the North Viking Invitational at Willis Case Golf Course. For the first time is several weeks, East was running its varsity sevens at full strength, and in this meet against all of its DPS rivals, in addition to more than a dozen other teams. We are now just three weeks before the DPS Prep League Championships at City Park. The Case Willis course offers a true cross country challenge with plenty of hills to slow runners down – personal best times are rare here, and more typically, runner were finishing 45 seconds or more slower than their seasonal bests. It is similar to what will be run at City Park on October 10.
The JV boys got things started. They were led by sophomore Jack Rocchio who achieved that rarest of feats on Tuesday – a seasonal best time of 21:30 for 15th place. Ballard Kauffman (20th), Alex Zonca (22nd), Gunnar Ranum (34th), and Riley Nicklols (35th) were the other scorers for East, and the JV boys finished 4th of 16 teams, 36 points behind 2nd place Denver South.
Maisie Moskowitz impressed in the Girls JV race, winning the entire race by a full 34 seconds in 23:23. She was backed up by fellow ninth grader Anna Lucy Buddenhagen in 3rd place, junior Madeline Solomon in 6th, sophomore Sara Merman in 7th, and senior Maddie Scholtz in 11th. Together they combined for a mere 28 points and easily won the Girls JV championship.
Junior Harrison Scudamore returned to competition by out-leaning a new rival from Denver South to win the Varsity Boys race. Also cracking the coveted top ten to come home with individual hardware were senior Rafael Marmalejo-Daher and freshman Asher Hoyt, finishing 9th and 10th respectively. The freshman trio of Elijah Bruggeman, Liam Peck, and Kristian Laird (47th, 49th, and 50th) came in close together and the Angels finished 4th of 21 teams with 116 points – 58 points behind champion South Denver and also “behind” 3rd place Denver North who also had 116 points but whose 6th runner finished ahead of East’s.
It was a different story in the Girls Varsity race, where the East Angels finished 2nd place of 14 teams, a mere 6 points behind Lakewood High School and a slim 3 points ahead of Denver North and 24 points ahead of Denver South. Junior Nell Salzman led the Angels with a 7th place finish and a time of 21:25 – a full 21 seconds faster than she had run the North Viking course as a freshman or sophomore despite Tuesday’s hot conditions. Frosh Lindsey Weyant and sophomore Lilly Cory worked their way up to 13th and 14th, followed by Samantha Skeen (18th), Laurel Kruger (31st), Emily Turner (32nd) and Serene Mather (33rd). It promises to be an exciting DPS Prep League Championship when these schools meet again.
On Friday, the Angels traveled up to Coach Kohuth’s old stomping grounds in Boulder for the Pat Patten Invitational. This was a smaller meet, but one made up almost exclusively of Boulder and Fort Collins area teams that are regularly in the top-10 in the state. The course at Viele Lake has some hills and the afternoon started off warm and became almost comically windy – so personal bests and seasonal bests were rare.
Ninth-grader Allana MacRossie-Smith came across the line 12th in the JV Girls race to lead East to a 4th place finish out of nine teams. She was followed by Scholtz in 23rd, then Audrey McGlothlen (28th) and Merman (31st) who each ran seasonal bests despite the conditions. Junior Caroline Ritchie in 35th rounded out the scorers for the Angels.
Sophomore Alex Zonca and freshman Zakarias Abdulkadir ran together for most of the boys JV race to lead the Angels with their 44th and 45th place finishes in times of 20:19 and 20:20 respectively. Kauffman (61st), Nickols (62nd) and David Spritzer (69th) represented the balance of the Denver East scorers, and the team finished 6th of 9 teams.
Salzman led the Varsity Girls team with a 20th place finish and finishing time a full ninety seconds faster than last year on the course. Skeen finished in 31st and Cory in 32nd – a full 2 and a half minutes faster on the Viele Lake course than she was last year. Kruger (48th) and Moskowitz (54th) were next in for the Angels who finished 8th of 9 high caliber teams.
Scudamore ran to a 2nd place finish in the Varsity Boys race, finishing behind only the defending 5A Boys State Champion. Marmalejo-Daher, Hoyt, Bruggeman and Laird followed in 29th, 36th, 62nd and 63rd, to make up the balance of the scorers for East. Also running Varsity, were Jackson Adams (69th), Peck (70th), Rocchio (71st and with another seasonal best for the week of 21:04), and Alex Weber (72nd).
The Angels will be busy with three meets next week – the last meets before we get into Championship season. On Wednesday East travels to the Denver Botanic Gardens in Chatfield for the Dakota Ridge Invitational; this is a fun, moderately challenging course at which East ran very well last year. On Friday, the team will split between the Denver West Invitational at Bear Valley Park and the Thornton Invitational at the Thornton (Margaret Carpenter) Recreation Center – which will also host our Regional Championship (aka State Qualifying meet) three weeks later. Both meets will offer a good chance to run seasonal bests over fast courses and the Thornton meet give the Varsity a chance to preview the Regional course with 41 other highly competitive teams.