It was a banner day for Cherry Creek on Oct. 17 at the state cross country championships but Mountain Vista also proved it is still a team to be watched.
Bruins senior Parker Wolfe won the Class 5A state title with a course record time of 15:10.4 at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs. Wolfe bettered the record of 15:12 set by Valor Christian’s Cole Sprout last season.
Creek junior Riley Stewart captured the 5A girls individual title with a winning time of 17:33.8. Cherry Creek’s girls team, second for the past two season, won the team crown and Mountain Vista’s boys team, second in 2019, won its sixth overall state championship.
“It was a pretty good day for us,” said Cherry Creek coach Ethan Dusto. “We’ve been working hard since March. The boys really put in together and the five of these girls were second last year and they really wanted it.
“Parker and Riley had targets on their back all year. It kept them motivated. I know with Parker it was about being able to set the record here. He knew what he wanted and went after it. It’s so difficult when you have had some success and the pressure to repeat keeps coming up. I was impressed they were able to handle it and did a great job.”
Wolfe had COVID-19 in July before the start of the season but was healthy enough to run in the Heritage Distance Classic (formerly the Liberty Bell) on Sept. 13 and beat the previous record set by Sprout with a nation’s best time of 14:30.
He and Sprout trained together last summer
“I’ve been back to the doctor a couple times,” said Wolfe. “I’m pretty much back to normal and healthy again. I didn’t know how it would affect my lungs and all that. Coming into the season my goal was to get to the Liberty Bell, get that time and make sure my lungs were still there and that happened. I’m pretty happy to set the (state) course record. I never thought I would be here. My freshman year I was a 4-foot-10 and a 95-pound scrawny kid.”
Stewart’s race was like the one run by Wolfe. Both Creek runners put plenty of distance between them and the rest of the competitors.
“It’s just amazing to get the team and individual titles,” said Stewart. “This was the best day ever. For Parker to come out on top, he’s been working so hard for it and we have all been working hard. I was just trying to go hard the whole race and I wasn’t really focusing on what was going on behind. I was just looking at myself.”
The other scoring runners besides Stewart for the Cherry Creek girls team were Shelby Balding, Addison Price, Addison Laughlin and Claire Semerod as the Bruins finished with 42 points.
Defending state champion Arapahoe was second behind Creek with 82 points. Valor Christian was third (90), Mountain Vista fourth (103) and Cherokee Trail fifth (130).
In 5A girls individual race, Cameron McConnell of Cherokee Trail was second behind Stewart with a time of 18:00.50. Ava Mitchell of Arapahoe ran fourth (18:13.20), Balding was fifth (18:20.60), Taylor Whitfield of Valor Christian sixth (18:20.70), Valor’s Brooke Wilson seventh (18:28.10) and Emily Lamontogne of Arapahoe eighth (18:34.30).
Mountain Vista’s boys team had 80 points to outdistance second place Chaparral (124) in the 5A boys team race. Valor Christian was fourth (147), Rock Canyon seventh (195) and Creek tenth (221).
Ty Garrett of Valor Christian was eighth in the individual standings with a time of 16:06.30 and Jayden Nats was Mountain Vista’s top runner in 10th place (16:14.00).