Cherokee Trail senior Hunter Strand (91) closes in on the finish line on his way to a 15th-place finish in the 2022 Class 5A boys state cross country race on Oct. 29, 2022, at Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. Strand led the way for the Cougars, who finished sixth in the team standings. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

COLORADO SPRINGS | The Cherokee Trail boys cross country team finished third at the Class 5A state meet in 2021 and virtually intact and coming off an impressive regular season, entertained hopes of a team podium finish Saturday.

Several other teams had high hopes as well and some outperformed expectations during the race at Norris Penrose Event Center, after which the Cougars found themselves in sixth place in a tightly-packed leaderboard.

Regis Jesuit’s David Flaig (264) and Cherokee Trail’s Brady Smith (89) finish 19th and 20th, respectively, in the Class 5A boys state cross country race on Oct. 29, 2022. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

Senior Hunter Strand posted Cherokee Trail’s top individual performance with a 15th-place individual finish, while junior Brady Smith came across the finish line next for coach Chris Faust’s Cougars, who were 11 points behind third-place Fairview, eight behind fourth-place Mountain Vista and six behind fifth-place Rock Canyon.

Cherokee Trail finished a good distance in front of Grandview, which had a goal to match or better its 10th-place result of last season, but ended up in 13th place with a team score of 296. Coach Brian Manley’s Wolves were paced by junior Owen Zitek, who crossed the finish line in 24th place.

Junior David Flaig had the second-highest individual finish among Aurora boys as he finished in 19th place — just in front of Brady Smith — and he posted the best score for Regis Jesuit. Coach Chris Boyle’s Raiders ran with just two seniors and finished in 17th place with a team score of 385 points.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

2022 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE CROSS COUNTRY

Oct. 29 at Norris Penrose Events Center

Boys team scores: 1. Valor Christian 155 points; 2. Centaurus 170; 3. Fairview 184; 4. Mountain Vista 187; 5. Rock Canyon 189; 6. CHEROKEE TRAIL 195; 7. Castle View 208; 8. Denver East 226; 9. Fort Collins 230; 10. Chaparral 251; 11. ThunderRidge 266; 12. Denver South 292; 13. GRANDVIEW 296; 14. Fossil Ridge 313; 15. Heritage 319; 16. Erie 368; 17. REGIS JESUIT 385; 18. Horizon 406; 19. Monarch 429; 20. Air Academy 474

Aurora boys individuals: 15. Hunter Strand (Cherokee Trail), 16:12.5; 19. David Flaig (Regis Jesuit), 16:15.9; 20. Brady Smith (Cherokee Trail), 16:16.3; 24. Owen Zitek (Grandview), 16:19.9; 44. Evan Armstrong (Cherokee Trail), 16:38.4; 47. Andrew Fox (Grandview), 16:43.2; 51. Reuben Holness (Cherokee Trail), 16:46.6; 64. Danek Colson (Grandview), 16:55.9; 75. Caleb Aex (Regis Jesuit), 17:01.9; 81. Logan McGowan (Cherokee Trail), 17:04; 85. Colton White (Grandview), 17:04.8; 95. Braeden Focht (Regis Jesuit), 17:09.3; 102. Dylan Smith (Cherokee Trail), 17:20.8; 103. Beck Gutjahr (Cherokee Trail), 17:20.9; 104. Evan Valencia (Grandview), 17:21.4; 111. Liam Sullivan (Regis Jesuit), 17:29.5; 123. John Burns (Regis Jesuit), 17:44.2

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