AURORA | Some Aurora teams and individual cross country runners have higher goals than others, but the idea is the same for all in Thursday’s regional competition: find a way to qualify for the state meet.
There are two ways for city boys and girls runners to earn their way into the competition set for Oct. 28 at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs, either by a top-15 individual finish or as part of one of the top four teams in the final standings.
All four regional meets involving Aurora teams are scheduled for Thursday.
Just as they did last year, Aurora teams will be fighting each other for the right to make state as eight of the 11 city programs will be in the Class 5A Region 1 or Region 2 races, which will be conducted simultaneously at Northwest Open Spaces Park in Thornton.
Aurora Central, Eaglecrest and Smoky Hill run in the Region 1 races (girls 2 p.m., boys 3 p.m.), while Cherokee Trail, Gateway, Grandview, Overland and Regis Jesuit make up nearly half of the field for the Region 2 races (girls 2:30 p.m., boys 3:30 p.m.).
The same regional groups produced six team state qualifiers (Cherokee Trail and Grandview boys and girls, Eaglecrest boys and Regis Jesuit girls) plus two individuals and that number could be even higher this season as the Overland boys have take a huge step forward and the Gateway boys have a league champion in Yonas Mogos.
Eaglecrest’s Mason Brown and Grandview’s Kaitlyn Mercer won Centennial League championships Oct. 12 and take aim at regional titles, the same goals that league team champions Cherokee Trail (girls) and Grandview (boys) take into the race.
Aurora’s two other 5A programs — Hinkley and Rangeview — head to Boulder for the Region 3 meet at the Harlow Platts Park/Viele Lake course.
The Thunderbirds and Raiders, the EMAC team champions, were shut out of the state meet last season.
The city’s lone 4A program, Vista PEAK, is part of the Region 3 field that runs at Lyons High School.
The Bison are still looking for the program’s first cross country state qualifier.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 AURORA CLASS 5A/4A CROSS COUNTRY REGIONALS
5A Region 1 (Oct. 19 at Northwest Open Spaces, girls 2 p.m., boys 3 p.m.)
Aurora teams: Aurora Central, Eaglecrest, Smoky Hill; Other teams: Arapahoe, Arvada West, Chatfield, Columbine, Dakota Ridge, Denver East, FNE Warriors, Legend, Thornton
5A Region 2 (Oct. 19 at Northwest Open Spaces, girls 2:30 p.m., boys 3:30 p.m.)
Aurora teams: Cherokee Trail, Gateway, Grandview, Overland, Regis Jesuit; Other teams: Bear Creek, Central (G.J.), Cherry Creek, Fruita Monument, Grand Junction, Heritage, Westminster
5A Region 3 (Oct. 19 at Harlow Platts Park/Viele Lake, Boulder)
Aurora teams: Hinkley, Rangeview; Other teams: Boulder, Denver South, Fairview, Greeley West, Lakewood, Legacy, Monarch, Pomona, Ralston Valley, ThunderRidge
4A Region 3 (Oct. 19 at Lyons High School, boys 3 p.m., girls 4 p.m.)
Aurora team: Vista PEAK; Other teams: Abraham Lincoln, Alameda International, Arvada, Centaurus, Erie, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Niwot, Northfield, Standley Lake, Thomas Jefferson, Valor Christian