Cross Country: Grandview’s Kaitlyn Mercer takes Aurora city girls title, but Cherokee Trail wins as team

Grandview junior Kaitlyn Mercer takes a commanding lead midway through the Aurora City Championship girls cross country race on Aug. 24, 2017, at the Aurora Sports Park. Mercer crossed the finish line in 19 minutes, 1 second, to win her first city title. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | Kaitlyn Mercer was one of the few runners who actually got to cross the finish line at last season’s Aurora City Championship meet and she did so well behind Grandview All-American teammate Brie Oakley.

There was no driving rain and near-by lightning Thursday — conditions that forced most competitors to be pulled off the course mid-race for safety purposes last year — and Mercer enjoyed the conditions on her way to her first city championship.

With All-State teammate Caroline Robbins sidelined by a concussion, Mercer had nobody to run with for the majority of the 3.1-mile Aurora Sports Park course and try as she might, she couldn’t push herself to break the 19-minute mark.

Mercer — who took fourth last season behind Oakley, Robbins and Cherokee Trail’s Jordan Herrera — crossed the finish line in all by herself in 19:01, with Smoky Hill’s Amelia Johannes winning a battle with fellow junior Caitlin McConnell of Cherokee Trail to take second in 20:27.

McConnell, who bettered her fifth-place finish from her previous season in 2015, was the leader of a parade of Cougars across the finish line. Seven runners earned first or second team All-City honors for Cherokee Trail, which won its first city title since 2008.

Tariwa Woldemariam (4th) and Campbell Faust (6th) joined McConnell on the All-City first team, while Adeline Wilson (8th), Jessica Brookie (9th), Kyra Stevenson (10th) and Soonhee Han (11th) finished within 22 seconds of each other and made the All-City second team.

Even without Oakley — the Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year who is now at the University of Cal-Berkeley — and Robbins, coach Allyson Robbins’ Wolves finished just 12 points out of first place as they sought to repeat as city champions.

Denika Hallin (5th) and Anna Swanson (7th) joined Mercer on the All-City first team for Grandview.

Ten of Aurora’s 11 programs competed in the meet, with Regis Jesuit skipping it to focus on competing in the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede — contested on the state meet course at the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center in Colorado Springs — on Aug. 25.

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


Aug. 24 at Aurora Sports Park

Team scores: 1. Cherokee Trail 30 points; 2. Grandview 42; 3. Eaglecrest 91; 4. Smoky Hill 101; 5. Overland 166; 6. Vista PEAK 170; 7. Hinkley 183; 8. Rangeview 207; Gateway no score

1st team All-City (top seven): 1. Kaitlyn Mercer (Grandview), 19 minutes, 1 second; 2. Amelia Johannes (Smoky Hill), 20:27; 3. Caitlin McConnell (Cherokee Trail), 20:39; 4. Tariwa Woldemariam (Cherokee Trail), 20:40; 5. Denika Hallin (Grandview), 20:44; 6. Campbell Faust (Cherokee Trail), 20:49; 7. Anna Swanson (Grandview), 20:53

2nd team All-City (8-14): 8. Adeline Wilson (Cherokee Trail), 21:06; 9. Jessica Brookie (Cherokee Trail), 21:08; 10. Kyra Stevenson (Cherokee Trail), 21:17; 11. Soonhee Han (Cherokee Trail), 21:28; 12. Halie Lewis (Eaglecrest), 21:50; 13. Olivia Williams (Eaglecrest), 22:01; 14. Erin Ellington (Grandview), 22:04

Full Aurora City Championship girls individual meet results, here.