Fall Sports All-Aurora 2016: National champ Oakley headlines All-Aurora cross country teams

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From left, Smoky Hill sophomore, Amelia Johannes, Cherokee Trail sophomore Caitlin McConnell, senior, Jordan Herrera, Grandview sophomore, Kaitlyn Mercer, junior, Caroline Robbins and senior, Brie Oakley on Wednesday Nov. 16, 2016 at Grandview High School. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel
Members of the 2016 Aurora Sentinel All-Aurora Girls Cross Country Team, from left, Smoky Hill sophomore Amelia Johannes, Cherokee Trail sophomore Caitlin McConnell and senior Jordan Herrera, Grandview sophomore Kaitlyn Mercer, junior Caroline Robbins and senior Brie Oakley pose at Grandview High School. Oakley was the Class 5A girls state individual champion and the Wolves finished fourth as a team. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

From a soccer player to national cross country champion, the transformation is absolutely, positively complete for Brie Oakley.

In 15 months since she gave up soccer for competitive running, the Grandview senior has rocketed to the top of the cross country world in Colorado with her first state championship last month, and she added a huge cherry on top by winning the Nike Cross Nationals race.

Oakley, a University of California-Berkeley signee, crossed the finish line at the Glendoveer Golf Course in 17 minutes, 10.1 seconds, to headline a strong Colorado showing against an 198-runner national field that also saw Fort Collins’ Lauren Gregory finish in third place.

Oakley won the first national cross country championship for a runner from an Aurora high school since former Smoky Hill star Katelyn Kaltenbach won the Foot Locker National Championship in 2003.

Winner of the lightning-shortened Aurora City Championship race, the 5A state championship (by nearly a minute and a half) and every other race she’s run this year, Oakley leads the way on the 2016 Aurora Sentinel All-Aurora Girls Cross County Team, which is based on results from the 5A state meet.

Grandview junior Caroline Robbins had her own season to remember, as she earned all-state status with a sixth-place finish. The emergence of sophomore Kaitlyn Mercer (41st) also helped the Wolves finish an all-time best fifth as a team.

Isalina Colsman was one of several impactful freshmen for a Regis Jesuit girls program that had a very successful season and again qualified for state as a team. Colsman came across the finish line next among Aurora runners after Oakley and Robbins in 17th place.

Neither sophomore Caitlin McConnell nor senior Jordan Herrera were particularly thrilled with their performances for Cherokee Trail, but finished 37th and 53rd, respectively. Smoky Hill sophomore Amelia Johannes — running individually — made the All-Aurora team with a 42nd-place result.

From left, Eaglecrest senior, George Rykovich, junior, Mason Brown, Cherokee Trail senior Rylan Wallace, Grandview junior Matthew Fox, senior Chris Liston, junior Caleb Randolph and Smoky Hill senior Jemil Kassahun on Wednesday Nov. 16, 2016 at Grandview High School. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel
Members of the 2016 Aurora Sentinel All-Aurora Boys Cross Country Team, from left, Eaglecrest senior George Rykovich and junior Mason Brown, Cherokee Trail senior Rylan Wallace, Grandview junior Matthew Fox, senior Chris Liston and junior Caleb Randolph and Smoky Hill senior Jemil Kassahun pose at Grandview High School. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

The 2016 Aurora Sentinel All-Aurora Boys Cross Country Team has an all-state performer of its own in Cherokee Trail senior Rylan Wallace, who led the 5A state race for two miles before fading and holding on for seventh.

Wallace won the Aurora City Championship, claimed a regional championship and tied the second-best finish in program history. Though the Cougars edged Grandview by three points for the top team finish among Aurora boys teams, Wallace is the lone Cougar on the All-Aurora team.

The Wolves are represented by senior Chris Liston and juniors Caleb Randolph and Matthew Fox, who finished 65th, 74th and and 85th, respectively, in the state race.

Eaglecrest’s top duo of senior George Rykovich and junior Mason Brown came across the finish line within less than a second of each other, as the Raptors finished 27th and 28th as Aurora’s next best placers behind Wallace.

Running individually, Smoky Hill senior Jemil Kassahun — who went out hard with Wallace for the first mile — finished in 47th to earn his way onto the All-Aurora squad. He was the runner-up at the Aurora City Championship meet.

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

2016 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-AURORA CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS

BOYS — First team: Mason Brown, Eaglecrest, jr.; Matthew Fox, Grandview, jr.; Jemil Kassahun, Smoky Hill, sr.; Chris Liston, Grandview, sr.; Caleb Randolph, Grandview, jr.; George Rykovich, Eaglecrest, sr.; Rylan Wallace, Cherokee Trail, sr.

GIRLS — First team: Isalina Colsman, Regis Jesuit, fr.; Jordan Herrera, Cherokee Trail, sr.; Amelia Johannes, Smoky Hill, soph.; Caitlin McConnell, Cherokee Trail, soph.; Kaitlyn Mercer, Grandview, soph.; Brie Oakley, Grandview, sr.; Caroline Robbins, Grandview, jr.

Honorable mention — Boys: Jordan Craig (Grandview); Mitchell Garcia (Cherokee Trail); Bryson Nelson (Cherokee Trail); Hunter Glasgow (Cherokee Trail), 17:58.98; Noah Morgan (Cherokee Trail); Aaron Redman (Cherokee Trail); Girls: Peyton Dailey (Grandview); Julia Vitella (Regis Jesuit); Kelly Grubaugh (Regis Jesuit); Erin Ellington (Grandview); Elizabeth Somer (Regis Jesuit); Soonhee Han (Cherokee Trail); Anna Swanson (Grandview)