Summit Tigers cross-country team battles challenging course at Copper Mountain
After a week filled with homecoming sports action, the Summit High School cross-country team served as the finale for the week. The Tigers hosted their home meet for the season — the Copper Mountain Cup — at Copper Mountain Golf Course on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Coined the “toughest cross-country course” in the world, the Copper Mountain Cup cross-country race is not an event for teams wanting to run fast times on a completely flat golf course.
Instead, the course sends racers along a three-loop, hilly, grass course which top outs at a whopping 9,800 feet with 87 feet of climbing each lap.
Leading the way of the girls team was sophomore Ella Hagen, who faced some fierce competition in Liberty Common High School’s Isabel Allori.
Like Hagen, Allori is high in the state and national rankings.
Both Allori and Hagen started out with one another. They took the first hill side-by-side and gaged one another over the first mile. On the second lap, the duo continued to be neck and neck, but after cresting the hill, Hagen took a tumble, allowing Allori to put some distance between the pair.
Hagen tried to reel in Allori over the last mile, but it was not enough to come away with the victory. Allori finished the 5-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 19 seconds, while Hagen placed second in 21:02.
Both athletes went under the course record of 21:12.8 set by Hagen at last year’s race.
“We have been training super hard, so I wasn’t expecting to be fresh,” Hagen said. “I think I raced well. I love the course. It is really fun. My competition was one of the best runners in the nation, so I am happy with it.”
Following Hagen was freshman Lauren McCalla in seventh place in a time of 22:58. Junior Cecelia Miner crossed the finish line next for the Tigers, running 24:57 to break the top 20 in 17th place.
Rounding out the performances for the Summit girls cross-country team was junior Avery Eytel, who placed 22nd in 25:47, and freshman Darby Leffler who finished in 26:05 for 25th.
With only five runners in the race, the Summit girls cross-country team placed third overall.
“I hope that we make it to state,” Hagen said. “The girls have been training so hard, and I have no doubt that if we just give it our all that we will be able to make it.”
With the absence of Dom Remeikis, Joshua Shriver and Zach McBride — Landon Cunningham led the Tigers in the varsity boys race. Cunningham notched himself a top-15 finish, crossing the finish line in 20:59 for 14th place overall.
Freshman Cain Steinweg perhaps had one of the best races of the day for Summit. Steinweg went out conservatively and then worked his way up in the competition after the first lap. Steinweg placed 17th with a time of 21:12.
“I am really happy with it,” Steinweg said. “I went into it not really anticipating much, but once I got out there I felt really good.”
Gavin Benedict and Roan Varble placed 27th and 28th, respectively, while Memphis Thwaites placed 40th.
The Summit boys team placed fourth overall with Cunningham and Steinweg contributing valuable points to the team.
“Our team is doing really amazing,” Steinweg said. “I think we can make state, but I think we are gong to have to push it the next few practices, which Mike (Hagen) always does a good job at.”
Prior to the start of the high school races, the Summit Middle School cross-country team raced in the Peaks League Championship race. Both the boys and girls team won the Peaks League Championship with Jay McDonald and Lilly Benbow being crowned Peaks League individual champions.
The Summit High School cross-country team will race again on Friday, Oct. 7, at the Pat Amato Classic in Northglenn. The Tigers will then race in Rifle before racing at the 4A Region 1 cross-country meet.
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