A season that began with uncertainty will end at the state championship meet for the Lady Demons cross country team.
As late as the end of July, the school district was seeking a coach, the program’s home meet went unscheduled and the core that led the squad for years graduated in May.
Up stepped Mallory Brooks to serve as coach as the beginning of the school year loomed.
Once the squad began running, Ella Coates hit the trails fastest, leading the team’s middle of the pack finishes week after week.
The weeks of running, running and running to run in competitions is always headed to last weekend, the state regional meets and the chance to run at the state championship.
They rose to challenge at Rocky Ford and took second place and the right to compete as a team at state.
“They are such a tight knit team. They knew that they had a chance at going to state if everything worked that day,” Brooks said. “They had to bring focus and grit to that start line. And they did. Full force. I am so, so proud of this team.”
Coates, as she has all year, paced the team with a podium finish, taking fourth of 57 runners with a 22 minutes, 7.10 seconds time. Centauri’s Tayte Hostetter won in 20:44.60.
Centauri won the team event after taking first, third, fifth and sixth place.
Freshman Elli Brooker took 13th with 23:44.80, senior Katie Estes was 16th with 24:01.40, Justus Adams was 21st in 24:44.90, Erin Bigley was 24th with 25:22.50 and Scarlett Smith rounded out the top 25 with 25:30.0.
Senior Sam Dylan led the boys with a 15th place finish in 18:21.10. Mason Barnaby finished 41st with 20:27.90.
The Lady Demons head to the 2A Colorado State Cross Country Championships hosted by Cheyenne Mountain High School Oct. 29, at Norris Penrose Event Center-New Course in Colorado Springs.