Summit’s Ella Hagen and Dom Remeikis shatter school records at Liberty Bell Invitational

Summit's Ella Hagen, right, races in the girls sweepstakes at the 2022 Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 10. Hagen and Dom Remeikis both went well under their personal best times to set new school records at the highly competitive meet.
Mike Hagen/Courtesy photo

The Summit High School history books were etched with two new names on Saturday, Sept. 10 when the Tigers cross-country team traveled to Littleton for the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational. 

At Heritage High School in Littleton, teams from across the state of Colorado gathered for arguably the most competitive in-season cross-country meet of the season outside of the state meet in October.

Summit High School was one of the nearly 100 teams at the meet, looking to set new personal bests on a very quick course. 

Although Summit County was sunny with blue skies, the weather on the Front Range on Saturday was overcast with mild, fall-like temperatures. In other words, perfect conditions for a 5 kilometer, long-distance cross-country race.

The Summit High School cross-country team competed in several different race divisions, including the boys and girls sweepstakes race and the boys’ Division I race. 

In the girls’ sweepstakes, sophomore Ella Hagen, alongside three of her teammates, took to the starting line for the team’s biggest race of the season thus far.

Following the loud crack of the race starter’s pistol, Hagen and the rest of the race’s front runners rushed to jockey for a good position.

“It’s always a fast race at Liberty Bell and this race was no different,” Hagen said. “It went out fast. I kind of let the other girls take it out and see where I would fit in.” 

After the first mile of the race, Hagen and her Summit teammates found their rhythm and steadily awaited the final mile.

Over the last mile, Hagen dug into the pace and focused on getting up the final hill to the finish line.

With the roar of the crowd on both sides, Hagen sprinted to the finish line in a time of 16 minutes, 46.1 seconds, shattering Whitney Anderson’s school record of 17:25.60 by close to 40 seconds.

The school record performance is impressive on its own, but Hagen beat Anderson’s mark from 18-years-ago when Anderson was crowned the 4A state cross-country champion at the 2004 state cross-country meet. 

The finish from Hagen takes over a minute off her previous personal best from last year when the then-freshman ran 17:47.90 at the Desert Twilight XC Festival. 

“It’s an incredible feeling and it’s a privilege to run on a team that supports me for it,” Hagen said. “It’s a privilege to get it, and I hope that many girls follow. You wake up in the morning, you never know what will happen, but when it does happen it’s one of those unbelievable things. It takes hours, days to set in.”

Following Hagen was freshman Lauren McCalla with a time of 18:48.8, improving her personal best time from last week by 77 seconds. Sophomore Avery Eytel improved her personal best time from her freshman year from 22:06.4 to 20:46.1.

Freshman Darby Leffler improved her time by over two minutes in a span of a week, running 23:51 last Friday and running 21:36.0 on Saturday.

In the boys’ sweepstakes race, senior Dom Remeikis raced to his own record-breaking performance. Much like Hagen, Remeikis got out with the leaders and then steadily put himself into the position he wanted to be in prior to the last mile. 

Remeikis came into Liberty Bell, with confidence on his side after winning the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede last week, and that confidence carried him all the way through the finish line. 

The senior crossed the finish line with a time of 15:09.2, more than 30 seconds faster than the time he ran last week. The finish is also a 38-second improvement from his personal best time in the state of Colorado which he set at last year’s Liberty Bell Invitational. 

Remeikis beat Liam Meirow, who graduated with Summit High School’s class of 2014 and who ran 15:29.8 at the 2013 regional cross-country meet. Meirow was later crowned the boys’ 4A state champion at the 2013 state cross-country meet a few weeks later.

“I am thrilled to finally get it,” Remeikis said. “I feel like I have been working at this school record since I was a freshman, so to finally get it, it feels amazing. I am excited about it, kind of having a legacy at the high school now that other kids can chase.”

Rounding out the performances for the Tigers, was sophomore Joshua Shriver who set a new personal best for himself running 16:10.7, just missing out on breaking the 16-minute barrier.

The time marks a 27-second improvement from the personal best time Shriver set last season at the 2021 Liberty Bell Invitational. 

“I think after this race we are all confident in each other and we all trust each other,” Hagen said. “I believe both teams can get to states because they are incredible teammates and they work so hard. It’s going to be a great rest of the season for SHS cross-country.”

Before turning its focus to the latter part of its 2022 schedule, the Tigers will compete again next week on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the St. Vrain Invitational in Lyons.

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