Longtime TCA cross country coach Alan Versaw said Matthew Edwards, still an underclassman, “stands among the elite” Titans he’s coached. But not every day needs to be spent barreling toward greatness.
“Some days as a coach, I have to check myself and say, ‘You know what, it’s an easy day. He can run with the other kids. What he’s doing with the other kids is more important than if he was 10 seconds a mile faster,’” Versaw said.
“Everything you want out of an athlete, Matthew Edwards is.”
Edwards, the boys' cross country Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Year, capped his sophomore season with an individual state title. He was part of a trio that started out strong in the Class 3A race. He had distanced himself by the end of the second mile and finished in 15 minutes, 34.5 seconds, throwing his arms skyward. TCA's Chandler Wilburn and Casey Golden were also top-10 finishers.
“He is very enthusiastic and supportive of his teammates and consequently there’s no jealousy,” Versaw said. “People love a teammate who excels who also invests in them.”
The day got even sweeter when the Titans held off an unexpected challenge from Salida (48 points) and secured the school’s seventh boys’ cross country team title with 37 points.
“It was good to win again, individually and as a team, and have the whole team happy together,” Edwards said.
On Dec. 4, Edwards was back at it at Garmin's RunningLane Cross Country Championships in Huntsville, Ala. Edwards finished 48th in Boys’ Gold with a time of 14:48.98.
“If he keeps working like he’s working, does he become the best in the state?” Versaw said. “I don’t know. But he’s awfully close.”
There’s plenty of time to chase goals and enjoy his time as a Titan.
“I’ve loved the sport my whole life so I’ll keep going for it,” Edwards said.
It's her first year there, but Nadhia Campos is a known name at The Vanguard School. And if all goes well, The Vanguard School will be a known name at the state cross country meet.
“Every time someone asks me where I go, they never know where it is. They don’t know of it,” Campos said.
She’s happy to inform them, with words and record-setting times.
“It's really cool,” she said.
The girls' Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Year's parents are triathletes and when she started running in elementary school, her father trained her, mostly for fun.
When she got to The Vanguard School, she wasn’t sure how feasible training was. The goal now is to keep running all the way to college.
Freshman Campos won five of six races heading into the state meet. She and older brother Matthew, a junior, made it a family affair at the Dave Sanders Invitational on Sept. 24, the top local finishers in their respective races.
She’d considered placing in the top three at state, but beating the classification course record at the Norris Penrose Events Center with a time of 18:47.5 was something of a surprise. Campos recalled trying to leave Colorado Springs Christian School's Elle Stevens and Buena Vista's Zaila Smith at a hill, succeeding, and going from there. She finished almost 33 seconds ahead of second-place Smith.
“I just tried to stay focused and run my own race,” Campos said.
After winning a 2A individual title — in her first time on the course, no less — Campos had strangers introducing themselves at school.
“They told me that they were really proud of me and made me really happy,” she said.
TCA junior Chandler Wilburn
Cheyenne Mountain senior Erik Le Roux
Cheyenne Mountain junior Kaden Levings
Cheyenne Mountain senior Knox Exton
Cheyenne Mountain senior Tyler Nord
Fountain-Fort Carson senior Vincent Kipchirchir
Liberty junior Noah Schneiderman
Colorado Springs Christian School senior Elle Stevens
TCA senior Hope Ahnfeldt
TCA junior Sawyer Wilson
Air Academy freshman Tessa Walter
Pine Creek senior Madelyn Blazo
Lewis-Palmer sophomore Jade Allen
Palmer sophomore Olivia Sheridan