Mustang runners headed to state
Mustang runners moved into the spotlight as they earned the right at the Oct. 17 Class 4A regional cross country meet to be represented at both this year's boys and girls state cross country meets, to be held Oct. 26 at the North Penrose Center in Colorado Springs.
Ponderosa's Phillip Reid led the boys varsity field across the finish line and helped his team finished second at the Oct. 17 regional race at deKoevend Park in Centennial. Since the top four teams go to state, runner-up honors earned the Mustangs a team berth at state.
Ponderosa's girls team finished sixth and didn't make the cutoff to go to state. However, freshman Carly Bennett finished 13th, and the top 15 runners to finish the race qualified, so she too will head to state.
The Mustangs were one of 14 teams running in Oct. 17 Class 4A regionals. The start and finish lines were in a flat area within sight of each other at the north end of the park. Runners left the starting line, headed up the hill onto the raised paths bordering the High Line Canal that circle deKoevend Park. In the final mile, there was a sharp loop back to the flat area for a spring to the finish line.
The boys varsity race was run first. Reid ran near the front of the pack from the start and pushed hard to finish in a time of 16:29 and to come across the finish line well ahead of the second-place runner.
“I ran a smart race today. I went out too fast in several races this season but not today. Today I let the runner in first place set the pace and stayed close behind him,” Reid said after the race. “I stepped it up in the third mile, passed him and won the race.”
He said the finish makes this one of the best race performances of the year. He said it feels great to finish first, as he has only won one other race this season.
“We also pushed hard as a team because we were going for the win,” he said. “Our other six guys pretty much kept together as a group so we score well. I don't know if our team was first but I feel sure we are going to state as a team.”
He was right. While Evergreen took top team honors, the Ponderosa team made up of Reid, Frederick Tan, Luke Veitric, Sean Wilcox, Liam McCoy, Nick Rodriguez and J.T. Mason earned 88 points and finished second.
In the girls varsity race, the Mustangs ran well and finished sixth as a team. However, freshman Bennett led her team across the finish line in a time of 20:27 to finish 13th and earn a spot at state.
“This was a fast race and I had to push hard,” Bennett said after the race. “I just tried to set my own pace and stay in front of as many people as possible. This is a personal best time. I don't think I didn't anything differently. Maybe I just wanted to go to finish well today.”
She said cross country is her sport and she likes to run.
“I have competed in triathlons and I just love it,” she said. “When I am making a long run like this, I keep my mind completely clear and the only focus is passing the runners in front of me.”