2021 State Cross Country Meet

2021 State Cross Country Meet

Lizzy Crawford

October 31, Norris Penrose Event Center, Colorado Springs. All of the best runners in Colorado competed against each other. Thousands of fans, team tents, and recruiters. That sets the stage for the Colorado State High School Cross Country Meet. 


Horizon’s athletes who made the cut were the varsity boys team: Brett Davis, Zach Chagnon, Ethan Adams, Riley Owens, Edin Hrnjic, Seth Pollard, and Caden Weadon. They placed 4th as a team at the 5A Region 4 XC meet in Greeley on October 21. Also, we had an individual qualifier from our girls team, junior Lizzy Crawford, place 7th at regionals and advance to the state championship meet. 


The Race 

9:00 a.m., girls are on the starting line. Cameras are flashing. Lizzy Crawford is one of the few individual qualifiers running alone in the race. Surrounded by other teams, she nervously yet confidently got into a running stance. As the gun went off, a herd of the state’s best runners stampeded down the open dirt. 


The favorite going into the race was Cherry Creek’s senior stud Riley Stewart. Stewart, recently committed to Stanford, went into the race hoping for both an individual and team title. 


The first mile of the race started out FAST, Crawford ran her first mile in a 6:07. A little past the first mile mark is the treacherous and intimidating “Little Willis”, not to be confused with “Big Willis” which is even scarier, which is the special name for the crazy hill. This hill, with another steep hill about 400m away, takes a lot out of runners and ensures that they will not have too much energy for the final mile. 


As fans crowded the two mile mark, Crawford was in 44th place and was at a running time (pun-intended) of 12:46. 


As stated above, the third mile is a daunting task as the massive hills in the second mile take a lot of early energy. Also, this mile goes pretty far out before looping back towards the stadium, meaning there is a desolate feeling with low energy and the absence of spectators. Crawford struggled to pick up speed but kept on. 


With roughly 400 meters to go, competitors splash through the creek where there is once again a larger crowd. Just after the creek is a very steep but short hill. Crawford struggled up the hill but persisted. 


Now, the final 100 meters: energy is up, legs are dead, and mentality is the only thing fueling Crawford. As she rushes into the stadium, she can hear the commentator announcing the top times that had just passed through. This gave her some motivation to keep going.


Then it was go time. She wrapped around the bend into the stadium and there were screaming fans and lots of pressure. She picked up speed but not enough to make a huge impact. Finally, in the last 25 meters, Crawford sprinted through the finish passing a few runners. Her final time was 19:39 and she finished in 40th place. 


Crawford was unimpressed when she saw that she didn’t PR, but this course is very difficult. Overall, she went into the race 7th in the region but placed 4th out of everyone in her region at the meet.

Now for the boys race. This was a big, bittersweet race for seniors Zach Chagnon, Riley Owens, and Edin Hrnjic. 


The boys team came in hoping to move up in the ranks. Their race started at 10:20 in the morning, also giving them the better/morning weather to run in.

Horizon’s Brett Davis was State Champion – of the first mile. This shows that the boys race also started out very fast. Davis’ ran a 5:15 first mile. The rest of the team followed in pursuit as Chagnon hit a 5:27 and Adams wasn’t far behind coming through mile one at 5:30.


As the race progressed, a steady pace set in. Davis hit the second mile at 10:43, in 15th place. 


Crawford cheered for her teammates in the bareness of the third mile. That is where athlete’s legs start to give up so she knew it would be beneficial to cheer on her teammates there. 


The boys wrapped around the bend of the final mile and up the sharp hill in the last 400 meters to the home stretch inside Norris Penrose. 


Crowds going wild, they made a point to get passed as many runners as possible.


The race ended with Davis finishing in 23rd place overall with an outstanding average mile of 5 minutes and 22 seconds. His time was 16:42, amazing considering the difficulty of the Colorado Springs course. 


Finishing in second for Horizon was sophomore Adams with a time of 17:03 and finishing 37th. The rest of the team placed great as well: Chagnon 65th, Owens 103rd, Hrnjic 133rd, Weadon 147th, and Pollard was 153rd. 


These finishes resulted in a 13th place finish for the Horizon boys team. This is the best team finish for the Horizon Boys Cross Country team in school history! 


The 2021 State Cross Country Meet was a good one! It will be interesting to see what next season brings!