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Dakota Ridge packs it together at Liberty Bell

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The bunched-up Eagles garner top 15 finishes in both girls, boys races

By Michael Hicks

To ask Dakota Ridge freshman Cayli Hume there were two people who helped her pull through in her first Liberty Bell Invitational – God and teammate Vanessa Gonzalez.
Spiritually, the man above was doing His part while her junior teammate was inspiring her on the course Sept. 14 at Heritage High School.
“I definitely doubted myself a lot. Basically, I just struck with my teammate Vanessa. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without her and without help from God. He’s out there with me. He really strengthens me,” Hume said.
But it wasn’t until Hume was able to catch up with her sister-like teammate Gonzalez that she felt she could hang with the crowd in one of Colorado’s premier in-season cross country meets. And, there’s no doubt that she hung with it. Hume finished on Gonzalez’s heels to place 28th in 19 minutes, 47.5 seconds. Gonzalez finished 1.2 seconds ahead of her in 25th place.
Their runs helped Dakota Ridge to a 13th-place finish out of 22 schools with 309 points. Littleton High, led by Madga Van Leeuwen’s 47th-place finish in 20:17, came in 15th with 332 points and Columbine was 17th with 385. The Lady Rebels’ top finisher was Kiera McKee, who came in 46th in 20:15.
“Our goal was to come into this meet as a team and to finish as strong as we could as a team. I think we did that,” Gonzalez said. “Cayli struck with me, (and) we had a great pack right behind us.
“We haven’t raced in a couple of weeks. Coach’s goal is to have us peaking by leagues, regionals and state.”
After the Liberty Bell, Dakota Ridge seemingly is headed in that direction.
Pomona’s Alaina Anderson was the top female finisher in 18:01 beating her nearest competitor by 29 seconds. Pine Creek, behind five runners in the top 15, won the team title with 38 points. ThunderRidge was second with 107.
Just like Dakota Ridge’s girls team, the boys squad finished strong, placing sixth in the 23-team field with 194 points. Carson Hume led the way with a 13th-place finish in 16:09. Jack Robb of Littleton placed 21st in 16:28, while Zachary McDaniel led Columbine with a 26th-place finish in 16:37.
The top male finisher was Clayson Shumway of Liberty, who finished in 15:33. Cheyenne Mountain won the team title with 110 points.