COLORADO SPRINGS | With the vast majority of Aurora-area competitors at the Class 5A girls state cross country meet for the first time, there was a high learning curve Saturday on the challenging course at the Norris Penrose Event Center.
Just two of the 15 area runners — including full teams from Regis Jesuit and Grandview plus an individual from Cherokee Trail — who competed in the race in chilly, but clear, conditions at had run in the state race before and it showed in the final results.
The two returners — Regis Jesuit seniors Ashlyn Pallotta and Erika Danzer — both were among the top three finishers for the city in a field of more than 150 runners. The duo helped coach Natalie Baldasare’s Raiders to a team score of 445, which put them two places in front of Grandview, and in 18th place overall among 20 scoring teams.
Pallotta had the top individual result among locals as she crossed the finish line in 19 minutes, 19.4 seconds, which was good enough for 36th place. Both were significant improvements on her 2022 performance, which saw her run 19:48.84 and finish 51st.
Danzer, meanwhile, made a significant jump in terms of time (running 19:52.2 Saturday in contrast to 20:12.96 in 2022), but only finished eight places higher in 69th. She was 85th as a sophomore.
Sandwiched between the two Regis Jesuit seniors came Cherokee Trail freshman Jade McDaniel, who finished in 66th overall. McDaniel represented the Cougars — who had an 11-year streak of qualifying for state as a team come to an end — with a 66th-place result with a timer of 19:50.3.
Grandview — which ran at the state meet as a team for the first time since 2018 — finished with a score of 538 points to take 20th.
Seniors Summer Abeyta and Julia Pace led coach Brian Manley’s Wolves with results of 91st and 101st, respectively. Abeyta clocked a time of 20:11.5 with Pace at 20:25.1.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2023 CLASS 5A GIRLS STATE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP
Oct. 28 at Norris Penrose Event Center
Team scores: 1. Air Academy 26 points; 2. Fossil Ridge 120; 3. Chaparral 134; 4. Cherry Creek 135; 5. Mountain Vista 143; 6. Boulder 176; 7. Denver East 207; 8. Fairview 220; 9. Loveland 252; 10. Valor Christian 262; 11. Castle View 297; 12. Chatfield 354; 13. Dakota Ridge 359; 14. Broomfield 392; 15. Rocky Mountain 401; 16. Rock Canyon 406; 17. Fort Collins 427; 18. REGIS JESUIT 445; 19. Arapahoe 477; 20. GRANDVIEW 538
Aurora individuals: 36. Ashlyn Pallotta (Regis Jesuit), 19:19.4; 66. Jade McDaniel (Cherokee Trail), 19:50.3; 69. Erika Danzer (Regis Jesuit), 19:52.2; 91. Summer Abeyta (Grandview), 20:11.5; 101. Julia Pace (Grandview), 20:25.1; 118. Whitney Helmerick (Regis Jesuit), 21:10.5; 129. Zoe Small (Regis Jesuit), 21:33.1; 130. Ashlynn Mojica (Grandview), 21:34.6 138. Eden Akililu (Grandview), 21:58.4; 145. Emerson Rohrig (Grandview), 22:42.3; 146. Lillian Carll (Grandview), 22:46.7; 147. Cameron Mojica (Grandview), 22:59.7; 148. Ashley Istvan (Regis Jesuit), 23:05.9; 150. Emilia Hull (Regis Jesuit), 23:21.7; 152. Eleni Mykoniatis (Regis Jesuit), 24.59.8