By Sam Wexler
A new standard for the state meet is set with the best finish in program history.
On a warm and sunny day at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, not even the sun was brighter than the smiles on the faces of the team at the end of the day. It was emotional day for the entire team, especially the seniors, as the boys and girls combined for the best program finish in school history.
The coyotes started the day off with the 5A girls race at noon. Going into the race, Broomfield and Mountain Vista were runaway favorites to contend for the State title, though there is never a doubt in the Monarch team that a state championship is within reach. The team was ranked as a tie for third with Grandview, with a few question marks surrounding the team, one of the main ones being Holly Bent coming back from injury. Holly answered that question and led the girls team with her 13th place finishing time of 19:19 for the tough 5k course. Fellow senior, Audrey Lookner, had been dealing with hip pain for a while and the toughness of the course made it flare up, causing her to not have the race she wanted or anticipated, finishing in 80th. Audrey’s injury was no need for concern though, as the depth of the team showed in the final results. Junior Hailey Leader stepped up and was MoHi’s second finisher in 22nd place. This was an excellent improvement over her 60th place finish the year before. Junior Liz Hogan and Freshman Anna Wexler finished side-by-side in 45th and 46th, while Senior Sam Wexler ended the team scoring in 63rd. Abby Hein and Audrey Lookner rounded out the state team in 71st and 80th.
Both Broomfield and Mountain Vista had 4 finishers in the top 20, distancing themselves from the crowd, with Broomfield prevailing with a score of 55 to 62 over Mountain Vista. The female coyotes showed off the depth of their team in finishing third by a narrow margin of 14 points, with a final score of 153 to Grandview’s 167.
In a race for the history books, the male Coyotes took off at 1:20 with a vengeance. Going into the race, the boys were ranked number 2 behind the 4-time defending state champions, Mountain Vista. With defending state champion, Isaac Green, as their leader, and a taste of victory in the 4×800 meters on the track last spring, the boys had a fire ignited beneath them and they ran their hearts out to get it done. After a conservative first half of the race, both Senior Isaac Green and Junior Charlie Perry were within reach of the lead pack. It would come to pay off, as Isaac defended his state title, beating Joshua Romine of Mountain Vista by 7 seconds with a time of 15:57. Next into the stadium, to the excitement of the team, came Charlie Perry in 3rd, a huge albeit not surprising performance for those who know him after being in a boot and on the sidelines at the state meet last year. Senior Zach Litoff came next, white in the face and not really conscious in 26th, mustering up enough strength to finish before passing out. Junior Isaac Russo, dealing with knee injuries, came through with a monster race to finish in 29th place, a full 40 places better than his 69th place finish last year. Junior Will Dixon rounded out the scoring for the coyotes in 43rd place, sprinting past a pack of runners at the end to keep the score low. Two seniors in their last high school race in the state of Colorado rounded out the state team as Greg Hibl finished in 62nd and Brandon Wallace finished in 86th.
In the end, the boys came home with the first state championship on the boys side in school history, a two-time defending state champ in Isaac, and a favorite for next year’s title in Charlie Perry. They downed the dynasty of Mountain Vista by a mere 9 points, finishing with 88 points to Vista Nation’s 97.
With a MoHi best combined finish of 1st & 3rd behind them, both teams now turn their attention to the Nike Regional Southwest meet in Casa Grande, Arizona the weekend before Thanksgiving. They hope to build on the momentum and achieve more successes down at sea level. Sko Yotes!