Hagen and Remeikis place 4th at regionals to qualify for state championship
Summit boys place 5th, girls take 7th
The Summit High Tigers traveled down to Evergreen on Friday afternoon, Oct. 22, to compete at the 4A Region 1 cross country meet.
It is at the regional meets across the state that the top four teams and top 15 individual boys and girls qualify for the Colorado State Cross County Championship on Saturday, Oct. 30.
The girls were first to race the tough Evergreen course Friday afternoon, and star freshman Ella Hagen led the way for the Tigers.
Hagen battled against seniors in the front pack and was able to finish in fourth with a time of 19 minutes, 17 seconds. Her finish automatically qualifies her for the championship meet in Colorado Springs next weekend.
Adaline Avery also had a strong showing for the Summit girls, finishing the race in 26th place with a time of 21:34 seconds.
Rounding out the Tiger girls top-five runners was a pack of strong freshman: Cecelia Miner finished 36th, Avery Eytel in 46th and Niamh Nelson in 53rd.
Based off the finishes, the Summit girls team placed seventh overall in the region for the 2021 season, three places outside of making it to the state meet as a team. Though, with four freshman in the team’s top five finishers, there is promise that the team will improve as the young runners mature.
Coach Michael Hagen projected the boys to finish in fifth or sixth place coming into their race, and he was spot on in his projection, with the boys finishing in fifth. What Hagen did not predict was how close the race was going to be, as teams made their push for a state championship berth.
Junior Dominykas Remeikis took charge for the Tigers at the front, spurred on by witnessing Ella Hagen finish fourth in the girls race. Remeikis put himself up with the talent in the front pack, where he rightfully belongs, and hung on for fourth with a time of 16:46.
Remeikis qualified for the state championship meet, and he’ll make the all-region team alongside Ella Hagen.
Junior Landon Cunningham had a strong performance, finishing second for the Tiger boys and 22nd overall (17:43).
“Landon had a really strong race and finished the highest he ever has for us at the regional meet, which was great,” coach Hagen said. “He has steadily continued to improve after hard, consistent training all year.”
Cunningham was closely followed by a standout race from freshman Joshua Shriver, who finished in 23rd (17:05). Junior Zach McBride battled an injury on his way to a 27th place finish with a time of 18:03.
“Zach still ran with a lingering injury and still ran well, much better than I expected after missing so much running volume throughout the season,” coach Hagen said.
Sophomore Roan Varble rounded out the Tigers top five in order to score 116 points for the team, which ended up being just six points out of a fourth place finish that would have sent the Tigers to the state meet.
Like the girls, the boys will return next year with some well-seasoned talent that could help elevate the Tigers to the state championship meet.
Looking ahead to the state championship meet, coach Michael Hagen is hopeful about how both Remeikis and Ella, his daughter, will perform.
“Dominykas will have his hands full, as two of the top teams in the entire nation are in 4A this year with Cheyenne Mountain and Niwot,” Michael Hagen said. “I think finishing within the top 20 would be a good race for Dominykas, but he would have to have a really good race to do that.”
Coach Hagen says the girls field is not as stacked as the boys. This could lend itself to at least a top-20 finish for Ella Hagen at the first of what will likely be many state championship meets.
“Ella is pretty loaded as a freshman,” Michael Hagen said. “She will have to race some tough Niwot girls, but if she has a good race I think she has a very good shot at the top 20.”
The Colorado State Cross Country Championship will take place at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
If Ella Hagen and Remeikis can finish within the top 20, both would bring Summit High its best individual finishes since 2019, when Grace Staberg finished 19th and Jeremiah Vaille finished 13th.
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