LAKEWOOD – Some new blood could be leading Jeffco cross country by season’s end, both boys and girls.
Several teams have been reconstructed and with the season about to kick off nearly every team is geared up for a run — literally — at a league championship.
During the hot summer and throughout the offseason Jeffco coaches have had their teams doing all variations of different workouts as individuals and teams try and shed times.
Pomona, Ralston Valley and Arvada West have all reigned supreme in Jeffco in recent past but this could be the year that Bear Creek and Lakewood finally break through.
Bear Creek has a huge number of returning varsity runners and could be on tab for one of their best years as a team in quite some time.
“This team has a real chance at being really special. This senior class is special. This group has taken every step I have asked them to take and they have worked so hard together and for each other,” Bear Creek coach Angela Forsyth-Lowe said.
Both the Bears’ boys and girls’ teams are stacked with proven seniors. However, Bear Creek also inherited a huge class of incoming freshman — with a few of those having the ability to be varsity runners this season.
“We are feeling pretty spoiled. We are going to have a mature group this season but we also had a lot of incoming freshmen that have added a lot of depth to our team,” Forsyth-Lowe said.
But the Bears are not just big talk this season they have put in big time work in the offseason to get to this point. Hansen Lister will lead the Bears boys and he could be one of the breakout runners with Matt Izmirian getting his back.
And Brianna Sargent and Nicole Cookson will be featured in the Bears girls’ lineup this season.
The Bears also competed in the Wild West Relay during the summer which is a team cross country event that pits 66 teams together and Bear Creek was one of only five high school teams that participated.
Each team had 12 participants who ran from Fort Collins to Wyoming then back down to Fort Collins before running up Rabbit Ears Pass and ending in Steamboat Springs.
The Bear Creek team ran through the night, 28 hours in total, and took 11th place out of 66 teams with 61 of those teams being adult teams.
However, the student-athlete Bears weren’t the best Bears on race day. Forsyth-Lowe also put a team together of Bear Creek coaches and alumni and the “senior” team finished third.
The Bears have adopted the slogan: “run for something greater than yourself.” We will see if it carries over to a potential league title.
Just north on Kipling rests another Lakewood team that will be in the mix to win a league title this season. The Tigers return one of Jeffco’s best runners in senior Noah Riley who will lead a young cast of hungry Lakewood runners.
But Lakewood’s girls’ team could be one of the best the program has had in years. Led by senior Olivia Hayden, the Tigers look like they have built a team that can compete with anyone in Jeffco.
“Our girls have a chance to be on top of the league this season,” Lakewood coach Kyle Gillette said. “We actually have such a strong group that there are varsity members of our team who could be replaced by incoming freshman this year.”