Colter, Hemming run to the top

Cherry Creek sophomore, Ponderosa senior head All-Star cross country team

Cherry Creek's Jordyn Colter runs in the Centennial League Cross Country Meet Oct. 11. She finished first and 50 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. File photo
Ponderosa's Eli Hemming digs in to finish a race earlier in the season. File photo
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OK, everyone by now knows that Cherry Creek's Jordyn Colter didn't win the Class 5A girls cross country state championship.

But that does little to diminish how dominate the sophomore was this season. Colter is the Colorado Community Media's girls cross country runner of the year for 2012.

Ponderosa senior Eli Hemming is the boys runner of the year after capturing the 4A state championship.

Colter, who had dominated every race she participated in up to the state meet in 2012, was leading the race on Oct. 27 at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs when she collapsed on the course.

Holly Lane, the cross country coach at Cherry Creek, said that Colter was treated for possible dehydration and was released later that afternoon.

“It was scary,” Lane said. “I saw her around the mile mark; she was out in front and looked good. Then, after the two-mile mark, I saw the lead bike come up around the corner and didn't see Jordyn. More runners went by and I knew something had happened; I just didn't know what it was.”

Lane said that Colter's teammates, who still managed to string together an eighth-place finish in the team standings, were understandably concerned about what was going on with Colter.

“It's definitely a tough situation,” Lane said. “You become really close over the course of a season and you never want to see your teammate hurt. I talked with the girls and told them to cheer on the boys and try to stay positive.”

Still, despite the hiccup at state, Colter showed everyone that when healthy, she is the favorite when she places her toes behind the starting line.

Earlier this month, Colter competed at the 2012 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships and finished fourth.

She dominated at the Liberty Bell, the Centennial League championships and at the Region 2 championships, winning by more than one minute over her closest finisher in most cases.

By virtue of that domination, Colter was selected as the 2012 Colorado Community Media Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

“(Jordyn) is amazing,” said Arapahoe's Emily Wolff, who finished 10th at the state meet and second in the Centennial League race. “It's an honor to have her in our league.”

One of the many highlights of Colter's 2012 season was her performance at the Liberty Bell.

In the 35th running of the race, Colter set a new course record by crossing the finish line in 17 minutes, 01 seconds.

“I wouldn't have been able to run as well if it wasn't for the lead pack of girls,” Colter said. “I like when there's more competition because it makes you push yourself harder during the race.”

Hemming's winning time of 16 minutes, 30.4 seconds was 10 seconds faster than runner-up, Bailey North of Coronado. Hemming is the first Ponderosa runner to win a state championship in the last 30 years.

“It feels really good,” said Hemming, whose finished helped the Mustangs to a 10th-place finish in the team standings. “Winning was definitely the goal coming into the race. It was a really tough course, but I felt like I was ready for it.”

Colorado Community Media All-Star cross country 2012

Boys top five

Alec Brudzinksi, Cherry Creek

Eli Hemming, Ponderosa

Connor Lockwood, Arvada West

Christian Martin, Heritage

Danny Vavrik, Arapahoe

Runner of the year: Eli Hemming, Ponderosa

Girls top five

Jordyn Colter, Cherry Creek

Ali Deitsch, Palmer Ridge

Emma Gee, Legacy

Olivia Hayden, Lakewood

Melanie Nun, Legacy

Runner of the year: Jordyn Colter, Cherry Creek