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Gazette Premium Content Cross country notes: Palmer senior emotional in achievement

photo - Denver East senior Cerake Geberkidane celebrates after being announced the winner of the 5A state cross country championship race at the Norris Penrose Events Center Saturday, October 26, 2013. Geberkidane crushed the course record and finished 41 seconds ahead of the second place runner with a time of 15:48.2. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette + caption
Denver East senior Cerake Geberkidane celebrates after being announced the winner of the 5A state cross country championship race at the Norris Penrose Events Center Saturday, October 26, 2013. Geberkidane crushed the course record and finished 41 seconds ahead of the second place runner with a time of 15:48.2. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette
Kevin Carmody and Brent W. New Updated: October 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Given this was her last cross country race in high school, Hannah McIntyre thought long and hard about what she wanted to accomplish before she hung up her spikes.

"I was like I want to get in the top 10," McIntyre said, "I wanted it really bad."

Saturday, McIntyre passed Legacy junior Emma Gee 10 yards from the line to snag the 10th spot in the 5A girls' race and her first trip to the state podium in the process at Norris-Penrose Event Center.

"The hardest part is believing in yourself. I had to tell myself, 'I can do this. I can run with these girls,'" said McIntyre, who danced for her family's and friend's cameras in the process. "My whole team helped me with that. They were here supporting me every step of the way even though they didn't qualify. If there was an award for best teammates, Palmer would win it hands down."

Vanguard runner transitions nicely from track to course

At this time last year, 800 meters was the limit for The Vanguard School's Jenny Smith.

After a little encouragement from lifelong friend Ariana Toland, the sophomore embarked in her first cross country season and led the Coursers on Saturday with a 10th-place finish in the 2A girls' race.

"I always thought more than 800 was way too much to run," Smith said. "I've known Ari since we were in preschool, and she convinced me to come out after track. It's definitely an honor to finish in the top 10, and this is all because of Ari."

Cranny, Geberkidane win with course-best times

Niwot's Elise Cranny made some kind of statement in the last cross country race of her high school career.

Aside from defending her 4A girls' title, the senior did so Saturday in a course-record time of 18 minutes, 7.8 seconds, pulling away from Air Academy sophomore Katie Rainsberger. Cranny bested the mark set by Heather Bates of Pine Creek, who finished in 18:16.5 in winning the 5A race last year.

In the 5A boys' race, Cerake Geberkidane of Denver East kept the crown in the family, winning in a course-record 15:48.2. Last year, older brother Ashi took top honors in 16:21.7, the course's top time until Saturday.

Lyons overcomes flood, uses cross country as a metaphor

The night before the cross country race, Lyons coach Mark Roberts sat his team down and taught them a little more about cross country, and a lot more about life.

In the wake of a ravenous flood in September that swept over homes and bodies, Lyons' boys cross country team won the 2A state meet with a perfect score of 6.

"It was a great day for us," Roberts said, "but it's probably not the best news we've received this week."

Friday, law officials informed more than half of the residents from Lyons that they can finally return to their homes. They haven't been allowed to go back to them since severe flooding caused evacuations, and damaged water, sewer and gas systems have kept residents away for well over a month.

Since then, the Lyons cross country team had been training in parks around Longmont.

Roberts knew the day ended up being a lot bigger than a state race.

"Cross country has been a metaphor for us this season. In the same as life, we started out going, it is all good, and then we hit that hill, that adversity in front of us," Roberts said. "But you have to push through. You have to know how to handle it, because everyone has to deal with it whether you are running or you are out there in the world.

"I told my guys after that big hill in mile 2, you go all out until the finish. You run all the way home, and after we'll all finally go home."

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