Cross Country: Cherokee Trail’s Rylan Wallace fades after early lead, but earns all-state honors

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Cherokee Trail senior Rylan Wallace, center, digs for the finish line during the end of the Class 5A boys state cross country race on Oct. 29, 2016, at the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center in Colorado Springs. Wallace finished in seventh place to earn all-state honors. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

COLORADO SPRINGS | Rylan Wallace found himself exactly where he didn’t want to be Saturday afternoon, in the lead of the Class 5A boys state cross country race after two miles.

The reason the Cherokee Trail senior found his 20 meter lead on the pack disconcerting is that he’d gone out way too fast and he knew he couldn’t hold it against the group immediately behind him, which included defending state champion Isaac Green of Monarch.

Wallace went out with a blazing 4-minute, 52-second first mile, but was passed in the last mile by Green and a handful of others who went out more conservatively. Wallace dug in to come across the finish line in 16:13.1 to make an 89-place jump from his 2015 showing.

“I went out way, way too fast,” Wallace said. “I should have just gone out slower and kicked when everybody else did. Once they started kicking, I was already dead and couldn’t go any faster. I held on just enough to get top seven.”

Wallace’s finish tied for the second-best in program history, as he joined Scott Ingram (sixth in 4A in 2007, seventh in 2006) and Alex Dillenbeck (sixth in 5A in 2009) on Cherokee Trail’s short list of all-state performers.

Wallace’s Cherokee Trail team finished three points ahead of Grandview for an Aurora-best 12th place in the team standings — a big improvement over last season’s 24th-place showing — while the Centennial League champions finished third among league teams behind Cherry Creek (7th) and Arapahoe (11th).

Seniors Mitchell Garcia, Bryson Nelson, Hunter Glasgo and Noah Morgan followed Wallace across the finish line to round out the scoring for the Cougars.

Grandview was paced by senior Chris Liston, who finished 52nd after he came in 127th a year ago, in a 13th-place team showing, while Eaglecrest — last in the field as a team a year ago — checked in 18th.

The Raptors had the next two best Aurora results as senior George Rykovich and junior Mason Brown came across the finish line in 27th and 28th, respectively.

Running individually for the second year in a row at state, Smoky Hill senior Jemil Kassahun also went out fast and sat just a step behind Wallace a mile into the race, but he was also unable to sustain the pace of a 4:53 first mile and ended up 47th. He finished 115th last season.

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

2016 CLASS 5A STATE CROSS COUNTRY (BOYS)

Oct. 29, 2016, at Norris Penrose Equestrian Center

Team scores: 1. Monarch 88 points; 2. Mountain Vista 97; 3. Rock Canyon 142; 4. Arvada West 167; 5. Boulder 184; 6. Fort Collins 191; 7. Cherry Creek 198; 8. Dakota Ridge 218; 9. Palmer 236; 10. Rampart 239; 11. Arapahoe 294; 12. CHEROKEE TRAIL 354; 13. GRANDVIEW 357; 14. Fairview 359; 15. Fossil Ridge 367; 16. Poudre 378; 17. Broomfield 399; 18. EAGLECREST 405; 19. Central Grand Junction 343; 20. ThunderRidge 446

Top 10 individuals: 1. Isaac Green (Monarch), 15 minutes, 57.24 seconds; 2. Joshua Romine (Mountain Vista), 16:04.77; 3. Charlie Perry (Monarch), 16:06.26; 4. Bailey Timmons (Rock Canyon), 16:06.95; 5. Harrison Scudamore (Denver East), 16:08.79; 6. Connor McCabe (Rampart), 16:11.90; 7. RYLAN WALLACE (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 16:13:06; 8. Kyle Moran (Cherry Creek), 16:13.47; 9. Carter Dillon (Mountain Vista), 16:19.62; 10. Cameron Dimas (Fort Collins), 16:25.43

Other Aurora individuals: 27. George Rykovich (Eaglecrest), 16:53.87; 28. Mason Brown (Eaglecrest), 16:54.35; 47. Jemil Kassahun (Smoky Hill), 17:15.71; 65. Chris Liston (Grandview), 17:27.31; 74. Caleb Randolph (Grandview), 17:35.66; 85. Matthew Fox (Grandview), 17:43.04; 91. Jordan Craig (Grandview), 17:48.01; 101. Mitchell Garcia (Cherokee Trail), 17:53.79; 103. Bryson Nelson (Cherokee Trail), 17:55.54; 107. Hunter Glasgo (Cherokee Trail), 17:58.98; 109. Noah Morgan (Cherokee Trail), 18:00.34; 115. Aaron Redman (Cherokee Trail), 18:06.20; 122. Colton Gates (Grandview), 18:09.56; 130. Gavin Morgenegg (Eaglecrest), 18:14.72; 137. Andrew Mills (Eaglecrest), 18:21.79; 149. Scott McLean (Eaglecrest), 18:50.74; 153. Carter Stevenson (Cherokee Trail), 18:58.01; 157. Charles Odden (Eaglecrest), 19:19.12; 158. Matt Vafides (Grandview), 19:20.30; 159. Dan Karny (Grandview), 19:24.85; 160. Christian Branson (Eaglecrest), 19:34.04