Lake County High School cross-country athletes returned to competition in late August, after a competitive running drought of over six months.
Cross-country is the only Lake County High School (LCHS) sport that the Colorado High School Activities Association approved for the fall season. There are many new restrictions on the sport, such as significantly smaller meets and wave starts. Masks are also required at all times except when running and racing. Coach Amy Peters said the team is thankful to be participating regardless.
For the Panthers’ initial contest, LCHS hosted a tri-meet with Buena Vista and Salida high schools at Hayden Meadows Reservoir on Aug. 21. The teams raced from the reservoir down to C.R. 55, a route of just over 3 miles. Athletes took off in waves of six runners each, spaced one minute apart.
There are many new faces on Lake County’s team this year, and the tri-meet gave them an opportunity to show what they could do.
Freshman Rose Horning was the top lady Panther. She placed third in a time of 22 minutes and 5 seconds. Fellow freshmen Keira King and Violet Hill took seventh and tenth respectively, running 23:06 and 23:58. Senior Michaela Main, who usually mountain bikes in the fall, had a strong first running race, finishing 11th in 24:29.
Despite starting in different waves, freshmen Clara Kirr and Brynna Lenhard completed the course in the exact same time, 27:46, tying for 22nd place. Aurora Marruffo, a cross-country veteran and a senior, finished 30th in 37:06.
On the boys’ side, senior Fabian Jimenez fought off a finishing sprint from Buena Vista’s top runner to take second place overall in a time of 18:22. Sophomore Matt Cairns out-kicked a competitor from Salida to place fourth in 18:31. Jace Peters left his wave behind to run a 19:39 race, placing sixth to begin his sophomore year. Freshman Josiah Horning bested senior James Garrison by three seconds, despite starting later in the race. Horning was ninth with a time of 20:42, and Garrison ran 20:45 for tenth place. Abel Gonzales and Jordyn Garcia, both freshmen, took 14th and 21st respectively in times of 22:24 and 25:06. Junior Desmond Sandoval ran 25:34 and snatched 22nd place.
The boys won the team competition, and the ladies finished second, behind Buena Vista.