The Mountain Vista boys cross country team overcame the unexpected challenges of high water and muddy slopes to take top team honors in the varsity division at the Aug. 29 Warrior Invitational cross country meet at deKoevend Park in Centennial.
Tyler Matzke and Paxton Smith were the first two Golden Eagles across the finish line. Matzke finished sixth in a time of 16 minutes, 33 seconds and Smith was seventh in 16:53. They were followed by teammates Ryan Curr1e (21), Trevor Spieker (29), Michael O. Sullivan (49), Addison Hellier (50) and Brian Grover (73rd) to post a team score of 112 to win in a field of about 350 runners from 62 schools.
The Golden Eagle girls finished fifth in the team standings at the invitational, hosted by Arapahoe High School. Allison Chapman was the first Mountain Vista girl across the finish line as she finished fifth.
Her teammate Courtney Goodrum, who finished 69, said it was a challenging race.
“The race was a lot of fun,” she said. “The water crossings were waist deep. They were fun but making the crossings sucked out all my energy. Overall, it was a wet, muddy, fun run.”
She said she did her best but didn't post her best time. However, she said the team did well because they worked together.
Goodrum said cross country is her favorite sport. The senior said she ran track her first three years at Mountain Vista but was undecided about this spring because there are so many things on her senior year agenda.
The heavy rains that drenched the area created some unexpected challenges for the runners.
Usually at the Warrior, runners have to jump over the small amount of water flowing at two points along the High Line Canal. However, the rains changed all that as the canal became a high, fast-running stream. One crossing was about thigh-high and the second crossing was up to the waist of many runners.
Runners also had to use hand-holds and work their way up two or three slopes turned slippery and muddy by the rain.
Despite the challenges, area teams did well. Other area teams competing in the boys varsity division included Thunder Ridge, seventh, Rock Canyon, 17th, Douglas County, 24th and Highlands Ranch placed 39th.
In the girls varsity team standings, ThunderRidge finished eighth, Rock Canyon was 11th, Highlands Ranch was 22nd and Douglas County was 25th.