Cross Country Championship Meet

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Bobby Reyes

Rocky Mountain’s Dalton Kaines races in the 2021 Colorado State Cross Country Meet.

Camille Long-Shore, Contributor

COLORADO SPRINGS- On Saturday, October 30, the Rocky Mountain High School varsity girls and boys cross country team traveled to the 2021 State Cross Country Championship meet where the top seven varsity runners for both the boys and girls teams raced in the 5A section.

For the past several years, Cheyenne Mountain has hosted the State Cross Country meet in Colorado Springs. There are five regions in Colorado in the 5A division, and four teams from each region qualify for the championship meet.

The 5A girls race was at 9:00 am, so the Rocky girls were ready to go early in the day. The 5A boys were close after them at 10:20 am.

The Rocky Mountain girls team placed 19th overall in the 5A division. The first runner for Rocky was Ella Wolf, who placed 77th, and ran a 20.26. Freshman Lindsey Kaines ran this course for the first time and was the second top girl for Rocky. Lindsey Kaines finished in the top 100 runners, crossing the finish line in 95th place. Senior Kate Linstedt was the third runner for the girls team not far behind Lindsey Kaines. Linstedt placed 108th overall.

The boys team placed sixth overall, which is the highest they have placed in state in several years. One of Colorado’s top runners, Dalton Kaines, who is a senior at Rocky Mountain, finished in the top ten for the 5A boys, crossing the line in seventh place with a time of 16:08. Kaines says he feels “alright” about placing seventh because he “was hoping for top three heading into the race,” but has come to terms with his place. Kaines is the first Rocky boy to place in the top ten since 2014.

More Rocky boys runners followed Kaines, as Tanner Halopoff finished 39th, and Timmy Thompson finished 42nd. The first three boys from RMHS finished in the top 50.

Kaines has won a total of four meets this season, including the regional meet, so the State Meet was the last race for him in Colorado. “I feel a little sad that it was the last race in Colorado wearing a Rocky Mountain uniform,” Kaines said.

The course highlights many hills, a creek crossing, and a finish into a stadium. Nevertheless, the course makes for a very difficult and challenging race. However, thousands of other runners and spectators make the trip to Colorado Springs to support all of the qualifiers in their last race of the season.

Rocky runner Ella Wolf described the State meet as “super exciting!” She said that “running on this course is difficult,” but that you “have an advantage because you know where each hill is” if you have run this many times.

Wolf has been a varsity runner since she was a freshman, and due to the global pandemic, the cross country season was altered heavily in 2020. “I am just super glad we could have a normal season this year,” Wolf said. She felt like she had a good senior season, and walked away with a new altitude personal record.

Both the girls varsity and boys varsity teams are planning to travel to Arizona in November to run in the Nike Cross Country Regional Meet, or NXR. NXR is a competitive race where runners from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah.