That’s what wins a cross country team title. Sure, having a superstar is great, but to win state a team needs at least five strong runners.
That is what puts the Fort Collins High School boys cross country team in contention for a title Saturday at Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
The Lambkins won Front Range League and regional titles with ease even though they didn’t have an individual place first in either race.
At regionals Fort Collins had five of the top-10 runners. At the league meet it was five of the top-11. Cameron Dimas, Jack Conlon, Joe Krafsur, Josh Krafsur, Blake Salvador, Antonio Calderon and Jack Shore are the seven runners who will aim for a title after finishing second as a team a year ago.
Five of them were at state a year ago, giving the team plenty of experience.
Fort Collins has finished second at state behind Mountain Vista each of the last two years. The Lambkins hope that can help bring the Class 5A title back for the first time since 2011.
Heritage Christian also aiming for title — Is this the year? The Heritage Christian girls finished tied for second in 2A with Rebekah (third individually) and Rachel (sixth) Rairdon leading the charge.
The Rairdon’s are back for the final go and have seemingly finished first and second each race, including regionals when Rebekah edged Rachel. That came a week after Rachel edged Rebekah for a league title.
Those twins are complemented by sophomore twins Megan and LeeannWagner and OliviaCouch, who all ran at state last year. The Eagles are likely the favorite heading into Saturday.
Other notables to watch — With more than 70 locals qualified for the state meet, there are plenty of names to watch.
Lauren Gregory, the back-to-back champion from Fort Collins, is the headliner among local girls in 5A, but she’s far from the only top racer.
Rocky Mountain’s Kacey Doner is healthy and shooting for a top-10 finish. Poudre’s Luna Slater is never far from the top in any race.
Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge and Rocky Mountain qualified as a team for the girls 5A race.
On the boys side, Poudre’s Henry Raymond has had an excellent season and Rocky Mountain’s Bryan Hird has had an incredible career of success. Fossil Ridge has several top runners led by Dylan Ko and Keaton Schelir.
Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge, Poudre and Rocky Mountain all qualified as a team for the boys 5A race.
On the boys side in 2A, Luke Gilliland (Heritage Christian) and Christian Fagerlin (Resurrection Christian) had top-three finishes at regionals.
Heritage Christian and Resurrection Christian boys teams qualified in 2A.
For live updates from state cross country, follow reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle.
State cross country race schedule
Location: Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs
2A girls: 9:20 a.m.
3A boys: 10 a.m.
4A boys: 10:30 a.m.
5A girls: 11 a.m.
2A boys: 11:30 a.m.
3A girls: Noon
4A girls: 12:30 p.m.
5A boys: 1 p.m.