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Congratulations go out to MoHi girls team co-captain Anna Hogan, on winning the High School State Snowshoe Championship this past weekend. The race, in its 5th year, was held at Summit High School in the midst of one of the bigger snows of the season. Over a foot of fresh snow slowed the commute from the front range for many and delayed the start of the race by 45 minutes. Four feet of snow in the past three weeks turned the event into a true snowshoe race!
But the new snow played right into Anna’s hands as there are few runners at Monarch that thrive on a strength course like Anna does. Anna won the 5K race by more than 30 seconds. It was only the second time she had entered a snowshoe race. That the defending State and National Junior Champion was in the field…all the more impressive.
Those of us that have had the pleasure of being around Anna for the past four years know that there is no one on the team that works harder than Anna. Whether she’s preparing for cross country, track, a Ragnar Relay or a snowshoe race, she pours herself into her training. It’s great to see her come away with a win!
At Wednesday’s national signing day ceremony at Monarch High School, four runners from the Cross Country team signed letters of intent to run in college. It is the most to ever sign in the team’s history. Rumor has it that another will sign in the next week or so. Those signing today:
Parker Sitton will take his talents to Arkansas State in Jonesboro. The Red Wolves are a Division I school and compete in the Sunbelt Conference. Parker will be running both cross and track.
Kaitlyn Benner will be competing for perennial Division I national powerhouse at the University of Colorado next fall. The Buffs are coming off a season where they placed 7th at the NCAA Championships this year and figure to be better next year. Kaitlyn will compete in both cross and track.
Claire Green signed with the University of Arizona. The Division I Wildcats were runners-up at the NCAA Championships this year and return 5 of their top 7 runners. Claire will compete in both cross and track. It’s highly likely Claire and Kaitlyn will cross paths at Pac-12 meets in the future.
Ashley Litoff will be heading off to Memphis to run for Rhodes College next fall. The Lynx are a Division III program that competes in the Southern Athletic Association. Ashley will also be competing in both cross and track.
Congratulations to all four runners and their families. The scholarships are proof that their hard work has truly paid off. With State Championships and trips to National Championships already a part of their high school experience…we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them all!
It sure is nice to see that Coach Rieder was recognized as “Coach Of The Week” by the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation.
Some might think it’s an overused sports quote, but the MoHi girls have lived this quote the last three years. Three straight State Championships, three different girls lead the charge. The beauty of this team has been its depth. A runner goes down with an illness or an injury and somebody steps up. This group has never panicked, never cared who got it done…just that it got done.
Grateful for an at-large bid to NXN, they headed to Portland feeling they had something to prove, that as Holly Bent would later comment, “third place at Regionals was just a fork in the road”.
And so when the frost settled last Saturday, it should have come as no surprise that again the order of team finishers had been shuffled. Senior Kaitlyn Benner would lead the charge on this day. Kaitlyn’s 24th place team finish came as no surprise, she’s been rock solid all season. But what followed was a pleasant surprise.
Freshmen Holly Bent’s second place team finish in 30th was a mere :05 behind Kaitlyn. For Holly this was uncharted territory. Her highest team finish had been 4th and her time of 18:42 at NXN was a personal best.
On this day, senior Claire Green struggled early urging her teammates to pick her up. That all changed over the last kilometer of the race as she moved up 20 team positions to 46th and urged her teammates to follow her along the way. The kids commented on what a gutty race Claire ran.
Following Claire was freshman Audrey Lookner in 50th place. Audrey also ran her fastest time at the biggest race of the season. Audrey’s 4th place finish on the team was also a first on the season.
Junior Karina Mann finished in 61st place and was Mohi’s 5th runner. It was a solid race for Karina, capped by a sprint to the finish in which she passed 6 runners at the line. Coaches stressed “every position matters” prior to the race. These points mattered as a single point separated Monarch in 5th and Fort Collins in 6th!
Junior Elissa Mann (73rd) and Senior Ashley Litoff (101st) rounded out the team at NXN.
Just :28 separated our first runner from our fifth, the tightest pack time of any team in the championship. The team went to NXN thinking that if they ran their best, they could be a top 5 team. Once again…the girls just got it done.
While all the girls played a role in the team’s 5th place finish at NXN, Holly Bent has been named “Athlete Of The Week” by MileSplit. It appears as though Holly has a decision to make this spring. No pressure, we’re sure you will do the right thing!
On a blustery day in Portland, the Monarch girls made the most of their At-Large bid by placing 5th at the Nike Cross Championships (NXN). Senior Kaitlyn Benner paced the team with her 24th place finish. Freshman Holly Bent followed closely in 30th, Senior Claire Green 46th, Frosh Audrey Lookner 50th, Junior Karina Mann 61st, Junior Elissa Mann 73rd and Senior Ashley Litoff rounded out the team in 101st. The 5th place finish bettered the team’s only other appearance at the National Championships, 15th in 2010.
More to come…
Thankfully, the selection committee for Nike Cross Nationals saw it that way as well. The girls were awarded an at-large bid to run for the National Championship in Portland next Saturday. Grateful for the opportunity, it’s now time to make the committee look smart and take care of business at NXN!
Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) draws their 22 teams from 8 Regional meets as well as the California State Meet. The top two teams from each of these races are given an automatic spot at NXN. The remaining 4 spots are filled by “at-large” bids.
With the MoHi girls third place finish in the Southwest Regional, we find ourselves hoping that we’ve done enough over the season to be awarded an at-large bid. Here is what the NXN website says about the “at-large” selection process:
“At-Large qualifiers into Nike Cross Nationals from the NXN Regionals: A total of four at-large club berths per gender will be awarded. Clubs placing either third or fourth in the Championship Division race at each NXN regional will move into a pool of clubs receiving consideration for advancing to NXN as an at-large qualifier. A committee of experts will determine the at-large qualifiers.
Greatest weighting by the committee will be given to third-place clubs from the Championship Division race at each NXN Regional who defeated any eventual NXN Regional Champion in prior weeks. In order for this weighting to be employed for the third-place clubs, the victory must have occurred when at least five club members from the eventual NXN regional championship club competed in the same race as the aforementioned loss.”
The decision won’t be announced until next Sunday…stay tuned!