Gus Terry and Jake Thompson will represent Elizabeth at the Oct. 26 Class 4A state cross country meet that will be held at the North Penrose Center in Colorado Springs.
Terry and Thompson earned state berths by finishing in the top 15 runners at the Oct. 17 Class 4A regional cross country meet at deKoevend Park in Littleton.
The Cardinals were one of 14 teams running in Oct. 17 Class 4A regionals. For regionals, the start and finish lines were within sight of each other at the north end of the park. The runners then ran up the hill and traveled along the raised paths along the High Line Canal that circle DeKoevend Park before making a sharp turn and heading downhill to the finish line.
The top four teams qualified for state, as did the top 15 runners in the field.
The boys varsity race was run first. The leaders set a fast pace and, in the final mile Phillip Reid of Ponderosa took the lead and finished first with a time of 16:29.
Terry kept pace with the leaders and finished sixth with a time of 17:09 so he can return to the state meet.
“This was a fun race. Based on how competitive it was and how important this race is, I feel my performance today was my best performance of the year,” Terry said after the race. “I have run against most of these kids before, and I knew I would have to run a fast pace to stay near the front of the pack if I wanted to finish high enough in the field to go back to state.”
He said his strategy is to set his own pace and run so he is in the group of runners near the front of the field.
“Cross country is my sport because running is my thing,” he said. “I also run track and I play basketball, but running is my favorite sport.”
He said the Elizabeth team ran well as they finished sixth, but he was happy to see a teammate also qualified for state.
“I went to state last year and I was the only Elizabeth runner who qualified,” he said. “This year, it'll be better because my teammate Jake Thompson also qualified for state.”
Thompson finished 13th with a time of 17:22.
Evergreen won the varsity girls team title with 37 points. Elizabeth's team was 10th with 279 points. Sophomore Cori Small led Cardinal team across the finish line as she finished 27th with a time of 21:47.