Dakota Ridge cross country runner Cameron Mattson put into perspective quite clearly what the Eagles had to do Oct. 11 at Clement Park if they wanted to reclaim their position as the top boys team in the 5A Jeffco League.
“Sometimes you have to beat the other teams rather than each other,” Mattson said. “Our overall goal is to beat the other team.”
Well, that didn’t happen this time. Pomona, behind five runners in the top 13, scored 38 points to edge Dakota Ridge by 13 points for the 5A Jeffco League championship, but that still doesn’t take away from the run that Mattson, Carson Hume and Bradley Carney had.
The Eagles’ top three finishers came in third, fifth and sixth, respectively, all within eight seconds of each other. Mattson ran a time of 16 minutes, 21 seconds. He was 24 seconds behind league champion Connor Lockwood of Arvada West and 10 seconds behind runner-up Marcelo Laguera of Pomona.
“I felt great during it,” Mattson said of the race. “I’ve been doing better over the year.”
Carney recognized how Mattson was setting the pace for the Eagles, who also had Andrew Castagneri finish 18th in 17:27 and Joe Berg come in 19th in 17:37.
“He pushes us,” Carney said of Mattson. “We worked well together. We were packed up with Pomona, which was our main competition.”
Arvada West came in third with 66 points. Columbine, led by Brian Bezzant’s 21st-place run in 17:45, was a distant fourth with 132 points. Chatfield took seventh with 164 points. Nathan Oglesby led the Chargers by placing 16th in 17:20.
The Dakota Ridge girls, like the boys, had hoped to challenge for a team title, but the Lady Eagles settled for third with 77 points. Leading the way were Mia Valerio and Erin Renner, who came in eighth and ninth, respectively. Valerio finished in 19:58, with Renner just a second behind.
“I was expecting first or second,” Renner said. “We all gave it our best. We’re all very happy with our race.
“We’ve been doing great. We definitely stepped up our training since last year. We’ve all been working very hard. This is probably the best we’ve done in a long time.
Valerio echoed those sentiments.
“I felt that we did really good. Erin is a great runner. We kept up with each other. I think that’s what helped us a lot,” the Dakota Ridge sophomore said.
Rounding out the scoring for Dakota Ridge were Vanessa Gonzalez (17th, 20:52), Laurel Davis (20th, 21:04) and Natalie Gonzalez (23rd, 21:16). Ralston Valley won the team title with 41 points, while Arvada West was second with 69. Pomona’s Alaina Anderson won the individual title in 19:06.
Columbine placed sixth with 141 points, led by Noelle Cobb’s 15th-place finish in 20:45. Chatfield, behind Abigail Oglesby’s 21st-place run in 21:10, was seventh in 21:10.