Summit cross-country places 13th and 14th at Dave Sanders Invitational

The Summit boys cross-country team poses for a photo after competing in the Dave Sanders Invitational on Friday, Sept. 23. Despite resting seven of the team's usual varsity runners the team placed 13th and 14th respectively at the race.
Mike Hagen/Courtesy photo

The Summit Tigers cross-country team was down seven varsity runners at the Dave Sanders Invitational on Friday, Sept. 23, but that did not stop the team from competing well against a field of 25 other programs.

Since the team has been racing hard over the last few weeks, head coach Mike Hagen chose to sit seven top runners, including senior Dom Remeikis and sophomore Ella Hagen.

The decision allows the older varsity runners to rest up for the upcoming slate of tough races, which will include regionals and, presumably, state. 

“We raced four races in a row with the senior kids, so we decided to rest some of them,” head coach Mike Hagen said. “It gives the JV and some of the freshmen the opportunity to race varsity. The race gives the younger kids confidence and allows them to see how good they are. It motivates them to race the top runners.”

With several Tigers not in the lineup, sophomore Josh Shriver and freshman Lauren McCalla stepped up to be Summit cross-country’s fastest runners at Clement Park in Littleton. 

In the boy’s Division 2 race, Shriver ran competitively for the first time after dealing with some hip issues following the Liberty Bell Invitational on Sept. 10. On Friday, Shriver placed seventh overall with a time of 16 minutes, 50.2 seconds.

“I had a rough couple of first races, so it was nice to have one that I can go home really proud of,” Shriver said. “And it gives momentum leading into some more important races.” 

Following Shriver was freshman Cain Steinweg, who placed 67th overall with a time of 19:26:40. Junior Roan Varble finished in 76th place with a time of 19:42.9, while freshman Gavin Benedict crossed the finish line in 101st place with a time of 20:37.5.

Running 22:00.1 and rounding out the Tigers top-five runners list was senior Memphis Thwaites in 132nd place. 

With a total of 340 points, Summit placed 13th out of 25 teams. Eagle Valley High School took home the trophy after it scored a total of 75 points.

In the girl’s Division 2 race, McCalla ran strong enough to be the first freshman to cross the finish line, taking sixth place overall with a time of 19:56.8. The next freshman to finish was Ava Mierau from Mead High School with a time of 21:05.8.

“I felt really good. It was definitely difficult with the heat because it was harder to keep pushing, ” McCalla said. “Overall, I think the team did well, and I felt good.”

Lauren McCalla and Claire Jackson pose for a photo after running in the Dave Sanders Invitational in Littleton on Friday, Sept. 23.
Karen McCalla/Courtesy photo

Freshman Darby Leffler finished behind McCalla in 79th place with a time of 23:14.7. Sophomore Niamh Nelson placed 95th overall while Claire Jackson finished in 104th with a time of 24:44.

Seniors Logan Reid and Chloe Davis were the Tigers final runners in the race, finishing in 108th and 113th place respectively. 

Hagen and the rest of the coaching staff was especially impressed with the performance of Davis, who has made massive improvements throughout the season after transferring to Summit this fall.

“She raced in the junior varsity in her first race and finished last,” Hagen said. “We moved her up to varsity and four or five weeks later, she was close to our other runners. She went from being last to mixing it up in a varsity race.”

The Tigers girls cross-country team placed 14th out of 25 teams with a total of 326 points. Battle Mountain High School won the meet with a total of 81 points.

With another meet under the Tigers’ belt, the team is excited to compete —and hopefully place highly at the team’s home meet, the Copper Mountain Cup — on Saturday, Oct. 1.

“I am looking forward to it, and I think the team is looking forward to it with it being a home race and a hard one,” Hagen said. “I am nicknaming it the “world’s toughest” high school cross-country race because I think between the elevation and the climbing, it is a pretty tough race.” 

“I am looking forward to Summit getting top three or possibly winning that,” McCalla said of the home meet. “I think we can do pretty well, and I know we know the course pretty well.”

The boys varsity race is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. The girls race starts three minutes later at 11:33 a.m. The high school race will be preceded by the Peak League Middle School Championship at 10 a.m. and 10:05 a.m.

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