Four races. Eight championships. One historic day for Denver East Cross Country.
At the beginning of the season, the East Angel Cross Country Team set the goal to sweep the team championships in all four divisions at the Denver Public Schools High School Prep League Championship. East had last accomplished this ambition in 2015. On a cold and wet Tuesday afternoon at Denver City Park, the Angels not only swept all four team championships, but all four individual championships as well.
The winning began in the JV Boys race. Senior Eden Scott, running cross country for the first time this season, methodically moved his way through the leaders over the last 2000 meters to secure his first career win in 19:13. Ninth grader Eamon Nussbaum also moved his way up to grab second place in 19:17. Juniors Kristian Laird and Ballard Kauffman came across in 4th and 5th in 19:28 and 19:29 respectively. Ninth grader Jack Kriekels was ninth (20:15) and sophomores Cyrus Jenkins-Nieto (20:38) and Jacob Silverman (20:40) raced to 11th and 12th place finishes. East scored 21 points when the places of the top-5 East finishers were totaled – low enough to beat the rest of the league combined.
The Girls JV race started more than three minutes behind the JV Boys. Despite their substantial head start, sophomore Laura Romero would have to weave her way around forty-two boys (nearly half the field) on her way to the JV individual championship with a time of 20:38. Sophomore Lilia Scudamore (21:48) and ninth grader Grace Chambers (21:49) sprinted down the long final straight away together to finish 2nd and 3rd. The next ten finishers would all also be from East, starting with junior Ellie McWhirter (22:06) and followed by ninth grader Annabel Filippini (22:12), sophomores Grace O’Meara (22:15) and Maya Nussbaumer (22:38), junior Elena Thoman (22:38), ninth graders Reese Brogden and Ellison Mucharsky-O’Boyle (both 22:38), sophomore Grace Burnett (22:40), and senior Emily Turner (23:06). It was not until 29 seconds after sophomore EvaMarie Kropp (23:10) secured 13th place for the Angels that the first runner not from East would cross the finish line. In fact, 13 of the next 17 girls to finish were also East Angels. To put that in perspective, had the East Angels split their top JV girls into four separate teams, each of those teams would have prevailed over the top JV teams from the rest of the league. To belabor the dominance of the JV girls just a bit further, had the top JV girls from East competed in the varsity race, that team would have easily finished 3rd overall (behind East’s varsity and one other team) and each of the top-10 JV East runners ran fast enough to have finished in the top-20 in the varsity race.
Heading into the meet, an East Angel boy had won the varsity race at the DPS League meet in each of the last 7 years. On Tuesday, Will Daley assumed the mantle. The junior took the lead from the gun and never looked back on his way to a winning time of 16:48. Fellow junior Asher Hoyt moved into 2nd place about midway through the 5K and finished a full 12 seconds ahead of 3rd place with his time of 17:20. Two more juniors were the next to finish for the Angels as Jack Beardshear (18:37) and Riley Nickols (18:44) took 10th and 12th. Sophomore Xander Pacini had an outstanding final 1000m of his race, moving past many runners to take 13th in 18:54. With Pacini across the finish line, the Angels had secured the win with 38 point, 16 points ahead of last year’s champion, Denver South. Sophomore Ian Trautwein was 18th in 19:20 and Elijah Bruggeman 26th in 19:54 to round out the varsity racing for East.
Heading into the afternoon, the highest amount of uncertainty about securing a win was in the Girls Varsity race where the squads from Denver East and Denver North seemed evenly matched. Sophomore Abby Howard went out with the lead pack which included the top three girls from North. As the race grinded through over 3 miles of thick wet grass, first one North runner dropped off the pace and then a second. With a quarter mile left in the race the final North athlete in the lead pack dropped off the quickening pace and the individual championship came down to a 200 meter dash to the finish between Howard and the pre-race favorite from George Washington- Howard prevailed by half a step in the closest race of the day as the top two girls finished with identical times of 20:08. A bit farther back, junior Anna Lucy Buddenhagen fought off the competition to hold on to 6th place and sophomore Maya Winfield to 8th place in times of 20:55 and 21:02 while senior Lily Cory moved up to finish right behind Winfield for 9th place in 21:03 – all three ahead of North’s 4th runner. East’s AlanaMarie Barros (21:17), Lindsey Weyant (21:50), and Julia Schor (21:54) finished 12th, 13th, and 14th. With North’s 5th runner coming in at 15th place, the East Girls had done enough to secure the victory over North, 36 to 38; the final goal for the day accomplished by the slimmest margin in recent memory.
For most Angels, the 2018 cross country season has come to a close. However, for the varsity teams, ambitious goals await. The Angels race at the 5A Region 3 Championships on Thursday, October 18th at Lyons High School. Boys will run at 1pm and Girls will run at 2 pm. The top 4 teams at each race qualify for the State Meet on October 27.
SAVE THE DATE: End of Season Banquet will be on Sunday Dec. 9; 9:00 am-12:00 pm