Cross Country: Championship meets arrive for Aurora teams

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Cherokee Trail High School cross country Jordan Herrera, Caitlin McConnell and Erica Knibbe on Friday Aug. 05, 2016 at Aurora Sentinel. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel
Senior Jordan Herrera, left, sophomore Caitlin O’Connell, center, and senior Erica Knibbe lead the Cherokee Trail girls cross country team into the 2016 Centennial League Championship meet on Oct. 13, 2016, at deKoevend Park. Herrera finished fourth in the girls varsity race last season and the Cougars were third as a team. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | The prep cross country season has hit the third mile and is fast headed for the finish line, beginning with league championship meets for city teams.

The Continental League is first to decide its boys and girls individual and team crows, as a group that includes Regis Jesuit races on Wednesday afternoon at Great Lawn Park in Denver, with the girls A race scheduled for 4 p.m. and the boys A race set for 4:30 p.m.

The Regis Jesuit girls look to continue their strong season (which included a win at the Salida Invitational Oct. 1) and improve on last season’s sixth-place result, with talented freshmen such as Isalina Colsman and Clare Davidson supplementing returning veterans Julia Vitella, Sydney Lindquist and Kelly Grubaugh. The Regis Jesuit boys finished eighth last season in the league race at Redstone Park.

When the Centennial League gathers Thursday at deKoevend Park in Littleton, Grandview senior Brie Oakley — who recently announced her verbal commitment to the University of Cal-Berkeley — will try to defend her girls league title and try to help the Wolves take a team crown after a runner-up finish behind Cherry Creek last season in racing at the Aurora Sports Park.

Cherokee Trail senior Jordan Herrera finished fourth individually last season and helped the Cougars to third as a team in the girls standings.

Eaglecrest junior Mason Brown was Aurora’s team finisher at last season’s league meet with his fourth-place result, but Cherokee Trail’s Rylan Wallace — 11th last season — expects to challenge for the league title. Grandview finished second last season in the boys standings, but graduated its top three finishers.

Smoky Hill senior Jemil Kasshun claimed seventh place last season and could make a significant move toward the top.

Gateway plays host to the EMAC Championships, which are set for Thursday at the Cherry Creek Reservoir, where the Olys will run in the Class 5A Region 2 meet a week later along with a handful of other Aurora teams.

Senior Sydney Comet finished ninth in last season’s EMAC girls varsity race for Rangeview — helping the Raiders to third as a team — and comes into the meet after running a season-best time at the Pat Amato Classic. Hinkley finished fourth a year ago, but features a lot of new faces.

The Thunderbirds were fourth and Rangeview fifth in the boys standings to lead the way among Aurora teams in 2015.

Vista PEAK runs in the EMAC meet for the first time after moving over from the Colorado 7 conference, where senior Niles Gilmore finished ninth in last season’s boys league race. Sarah Machacek is the Bison’s leading returner from the 2015 league meet and just posted her top time of the season at the Pat Amato Classic.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

2016 CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

CONTINENTAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Oct. 12 at Great Lawn Park (Denver)

Aurora team: Regis Jesuit (host). Other teams: Castle View, Chaparral, Douglas County, Heritage, Highlands Ranch, Legend, Mountain Vista, Ponderosa, Rock Canyon

Schedule: Girls B — 3 p.m.; Boys B — 3:30 p.m.; Girls A — 4 p.m.; Boys A — 4:30 p.m.; Girls C — 5 p.m.; Boys C — 5:40 p.m. (awards following completion of last race)

CENTENNIAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Oct. 13 at deKoevend Park (Littleton)

Aurora teams: Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Overland, Smoky Hill. Other teams: Arapahoe (host), Cherry Creek, Mullen

Schedule: Boys JV — 3 p.m.; Girls JV — 3:30 p.m.; Boys varsity — 4 p.m.; Girls varsity — 4:25 p.m.; Boys open — 4:50 p.m.; Girls open — 5:20 p.m.; Awards — 5:45 p.m.

EMAC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Oct. 13 at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Greenwood Village)

Aurora teams: Aurora Central, Gateway (host), Hinkley, Rangeview, Vista PEAK. Other teams: Adams City, Brighton, Northglenn, Prairie View, Thornton, Westminster

Schedule: Girls varsity — 3:30 p.m.; Boys varsity — 4:05 p.m.; Girls JV — 4:40 p.m.; Boys JV — 5:15 p.m.