West Grand boys cross-country team qualifies for state championships
When it comes to high school cross-country, every race is different and exciting, even when for those running on a familiar course. Friday’s regional cross-country meet provided a variety of outcomes for the West Grand Cross Country runners and teams. The boys team is headed to the state championship meet for the first time since 2015. The girls team came up just short of qualifying this year.
Senior Henry Westfahl led the boys team, beating his old personal record by 9 seconds with a 18 minute 20 second time and earning a 13th-place finish on the way. Senior Brayden James has been leading the team this year, but struggled in this race, coming in behind Westfahl for the first time this year. Westfahl and James were followed by Dean Ratcliff, Alejo Aguilar-Pineiro, Esteban Aguilar-Pineiro, Wyatt Guthrie, Joel Gonzalez and Luke Leaghty. Aguilar-Pineiro set a new personal record by two-hundredths of a second. Luke also set a personal record, beating his old best time by 31 seconds.
The boys’ top-five team finish qualifies them to compete as a team at the state championships on Saturday Oct. 29. This has been an exciting season for the boys — each of them set new personal records and found new levels of mental and physical strength. For James, this is a return to state, but this time with the whole team.
“I’m so proud of each runner and I’m very excited to run in the state championships with them,” said James.
“We didn’t all have the races we wanted, but we all had the races we needed,” added Westfahl.
On Oct. 13, the West Grand cross-country team had the opportunity to visit with ultra-runner Don Reichelt. One bit of wisdom Reichelt shared with the team was to run your best run on the day you are running. He explained some days that run may bring you a new personal record, while on others it may just barely bring you to the finish line. Reichelt encouraged each runner to celebrate every finish.
The girls team had some outstanding performances and surprises. Lillian Hufford led the girls with a new personal record, beating her past best by 26 seconds. Senior Katy Farley followed, finishing her high school cross-country career with a 57-second personal record. Gracie Hast, Sara Lechman, Brooke James, Evelyn Amaya, and Louisa Paramenter followed Katy. Lechman finished the season with a personal record that was 13 seconds faster than the old one. Farley said she found the motivation to dig deeper and run strong when she heard a coach telling someone behind her to pass her. At that moment Farley said she decided “I’m not getting passed,” and pushed herself to a new personal mark. Over half the girls’ team were freshmen or new to cross-country running this year, and after having a strong season, they’ll be ready for what next year brings.
Cross Country State Championships are held at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. The 2A Boys race will begin at 12:20 p.m.
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