Elizabeth High School athletes joined hundreds of fellow runners from more than 50 schools competing on Sept. 21 in the Dave Sanders Memorial Invitational Cross Country Meet held over the rolling …
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Elizabeth High School athletes joined hundreds of fellow runners from more than 50 schools competing on Sept. 21 in the Dave Sanders Memorial Invitational Cross Country Meet held over the rolling course at Clement Park west of Littleton.
The field was divided into divisions, with large schools like Cherry Creek running in Division 1 and the smaller schools like Elizabeth competing in Division 2. There were 26 teams in each division.
Cardinals coach Adam Small said the Dave Sanders Invitational is always challenging for all the athletes who compete in the meet because of the high caliber of competition.
When the final scores were tallied, the Cardinals girls scored 108 points and finished fifth in the division. D'Evelyn won the girls division meet title with 66 points.
Holy Family took first place in the boys division with 81 points. The Cardinals took eighth place with 256 points in the field of 26 teams.
“We don't have a lot of numbers but our kids are running well. We have 10 athletes on the boys team. Our top seven runners are all cross country veterans with four seniors and three juniors. They have been successful in past seasons and this year's goal is to qualify for state for the third straight year,” Small said. “We also have 10 runners on the girls team. We have five seniors, a sophomore and a freshman running varsity. Their goal is to qualify for state for the fourth straight year. The girls finished seventh last year and this year's goal is to finish at the top five in state this year.”
In cross country the runner is awarded points according to where they finished in the field. For example, the medalist earns one point and the 10th-place finisher earns 10 points. The team score is figured by adding the points earned by a team's first five runners across the finish line. The team with the lowest score wins the meet.
Senior Ashten Loeks led the Cardinals girls team across the finish line as she completed the five-kilometer race in a time of 19:43.
“I came out today with a positive mindset to set a personal best time and I did that,” she said after the Dave Sanders Invitational. “The competition was tough here today and I feel that help push me to run harder. I had a goal to finish ahead of a D'Evelyn runner Taylor Harbig and I did. I was fourth and she was fifth. We often run against each other so we are friendly competitiors because both of us want to finish first.”
Loeks said she loves running.
“I think running is provides a challenge most other sports don't provide, the challenge to outdo your last effort,” she said. “I love to go against that challenge and overcome it every time I compete in a race.”
Loeks also runs track for the Cardinals. She said she runs the 300-meter hurdles as well as the longer races including the 1,600-meter run.
She said she hopes to continue competing in cross country and or track after graduation. She said some colleges in state and out of state have shown interest in her running ability.
“I definitely want to go on to college and I would like to compete in track or cross country,” she said. “I hope I get that opportunity and, right now, I am not sure what I would pursue as my major course of study.”
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