The Clear Creek Invitational is a tough race. In fact, there may be no other race in the state as tough. The amount of climbing over the 5K course is nearly inconceivable. Regardless of the massive ups and downs, the Panther XC squad accepted the challenge with open arms.
The boy's squad was challenged by Littleton and Platte Canyon, and ultimately ended up in third place. Mark Simmons did capture a last minute victory, passing Colin Cannon of Littleton in the final 100 meters of the race. Without two of the team's top five runners (Knight and Scholl), the rest of the squad had to pick up the slack. Henry Hoyhtya, Brevik Petersen, Corbin Frick, and Ben Johnson all showed up with strong races, moving up through the field the entire race.
The girl's team raced the steep hills with heart, scoring the quartet of Petersen, Granger, Berg, and Hoyhtya. The field was much smaller than the boys race, making it tougher to gain positioning throughout. They still managed a nice showing against a majority of the league school.
Middle Park Invitational
On Saturday, the Middle Park High School cross country team was blessed with a bluebird-sky day, as it hosted their annual invitational at Snow Mountain Ranch. Eleven varsity squads turned out for the event, making it the largest race held by the school in the past five years. 250 high school runners raced through the winding trails and aspen groves of the Nordic Center on a revised course designed by Nordic Center Director Bill Pierce.
In the boys division, the one-two punch of Mark Simmons and Tyler Scholl defeated the entire field. Simmons, winning his second race in a week, finished in a time of 19:03. Simmons had a similar victory last Tuesday at the Clear Creek Invitational. Scholl, who had led most of the race, was not far behind at 19:15. Boys scoring was rounded out by Mark Knight (23:10), Brevik Petersen (23:24) and Corbin Frick (23:41). The team placed fifth.
The lady Panthers were paced by Sierra Smith at 24:31, which was good enough for an individual fourth place overall finish, a season best. Raelee Granger finished in the top third of the race field with her 27:39. Freshmen Jesse Hoyhtya (32:17) and Elizabeth Barker (33:39) wrapped up the lady Panther squad. They did not qualify for a team score.