Summit Middle School cross-country runners finish 3rd, 4th at state |

Summit Middle School cross-country runners finish 3rd, 4th at state

Ella Hagen runs to fast fifth in girls individual state-championship race

Ella Hagen, front, and Chris Blackwell lead a pack of runners up a hill during the French Gulch 5K/8K Summit Trail Running race in June 2019 in Breckenridge.
Courtesy Blake Elrod

The Summit Middle School cross-country running team capped a strong fall season with impressive results at the state championship meet Oct. 24, including a third-place finish in the boys team race and a fourth-place finish in the girls team race.

“It was a pretty incredible performance especially thinking we are from a mountain town and the Front Range has some amazing programs,” Tigers head coach Eva Hagen said. “So it was definitely great to see and the kids were so excited.

Summit’s Will Bentley led the team to the third-place finish with a time of 12 minutes and 18 seconds on the 3,500-meter course at Fehringer Ranch Park in Denver. That was good enough for the eighth grader to secure a seventh-place time just 20 seconds behind the winning mark in the 120-runner race.

Summit’s other top finishers in the boys race were eighth grader Josh Shriver (22nd place, 13:05), sixth grader Jay McDonald (26th, 13:09), eighth grader Evan Wischmeyer (31st, 13:17) and seventh grader Cain Steinweg (51st, 13:54). With those individual results, the Tigers earned 72 points, just one point behind runner-up Summit Ridge Middle School and three points behind champion Walt Clark Middle School (68 points).

“Our boys team was really incredibly strong,” Eva Hagen said. “They were super hard working. They started off this summer with the Summit Distance Project — pretty much all of them have been running since we were able to get started in June. They got their fitness during the summer, then we just fine-tuned them in the fall, and they were just — they are great kids. They are just amazing kids, hard working. But they love fun and have a great team spirit. TI couldn’t be more proud of them. They are just so much fun. I think they all raced really well, they were excited to race.”

In the 107-runner girls race, Summit eighth grader Ella Hagen ran to Summit’s best individual performance on the day with her fifth-place time of 13:21, just 14 seconds off the championship pace.

“It was very tough competition and there were a lot of club kids,” Ella Hagen said. “So, personally racing full out and trying to keep up with everybody around me, it’s a different kind of race than any I’ve done in any previous seasons.”

The Tigers’ other top runners in the girls race were seventh-grader Lauren McCalla (ninth, 14:04), eighth grader Cecelia Miner (38th, 15:06), sixth grader Lilla Oppito (39th, 15:06), eighth grader Leah Gard (46th, 15:28) and eighth grader Olivia Lyman (61st, 16:00).

The Tigers girls team earned 93 points, just one point behind Walt Clark in third place.

“I mean, states is always such a big deal, especially this year with the COVID situation,” Ella Hagen said. “We never got a chance to participate in any big races with Front Range kids. So going into states, there was a lot of unknown. But seeing my teammates do so well was so exciting.”

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