File, The Gazette

More local runners raced Friday for spots at next weekend’s shrunken state cross country meets.

To meet COVID restrictions, qualifying for the 5A-3A meets is limited to the top three teams at each regional, one fewer than qualified in 2019, and the top two finishers to not qualify through their team. In 2A, the top four squads qualify along with the top five runners whose team did not qualify. With 2A teams running five with the first four counting toward the team score and the larger classifications running six and scoring five, and one fewer 2A regional, each state race will consist of 100 participants.

Class 4A, Region 2

Pikes Peak-region teams traveled up to Northglenn and brought back all six available team-qualification spots.

Palmer Ridge (45), Air Academy (83) and Palmer (92) finished 1-2-3, respectively, in the boys’ race, while the girls’ top three went Air Academy (38), Palmer Ridge (62) and Lewis-Palmer (79).

The first 26 finishers in the girls’ race came from high schools located in Colorado Springs, Monument or Falcon.

Air Academy freshman Bethany Michalak led the Kadets to the regional title by finishing first in 17 minutes, 51.1 seconds. Lewis-Palmer’s Aubrey Surage and Jade Allen took second and third, respectively, finishing three seconds apart but more than a minute after Michalak.

Ella Chura, another Kadet, was fourth in 19:36, while Palmer’s Adele Havlick rounded out the top 5 individuals in 19:42.4, securing the first individual spot at state. Palmer finished fourth in the team standings. Brooke Moss (seventh, 20:06.1) and Olivia Novy (ninth, 20:16.4) gave Air Academy four runners in the top ten.

Palmer Ridge finished second thanks to five runners - Maren Busath (sixth), Melanie Sauter (eighth), Nichole Smith (11th) and Jenna Baker (16th) Samantha DeGennaro (21st) - in the top 21. After their top two, Lewis-Palmer had Emma Thomas (19th), Tianyu Melzer (26th) and Olivia Lampros (29th) in the top 30.

Discovery Canyon senior Loren Linnenburger, who finished 10th in 20:18.9, took the other individual spot.

In the boys’ race, Palmer’s Scott Prieve won the regional championship and led his team to a third-place finish with a 15:57.8. Coronado’s Zinabu Engstrom, the first individual qualifier, was second in 16:20.3, while Colby Schultz’s third-place run of 16:22.7 led Palmer Ridge to the team title. Alex Maline was second-place Air Academy’s first finisher in 16:22.9, good for fourth place. Palmer ridge sophomore Jake Bach rounded out the top five in 16:40.4. Littleton’s Evan Moore was sixth and took the other individual-qualifying spot. Lucas Bossinger (seventh) and John Clawson (10th) gave the Bears’ boys four finishers in the top 10, while Palmer got supplemental finishes from Joe Lange (ninth) and Cisco Alvarez (11th). Air Academy took second behind a group of four runners - Ben Hodge (16th), Stephen Varnier (18th), Ben Lumaye (21st) and Drew Braden (24th) - finishing between 16 and 24.

Coronado, Falcon and Sand Creek also had teams competing in Northglenn.

Class 4A, Region 5

According to the Widefield athletics Twitter account, Asher Finch and Sophia Mena qualified for the state meet for the Gladiators.

Class 2A, Region 3

St. Mary’s and Thomas MacLaren School each put two runners in the top 10 of the boys’ race in Rocky Ford to send their teams to state.

The Pirates took the team title behind Dylan Brush (16:48.61) and Jackson Neppl (17:04.21), finishing second and third. Lyndon Gotelaere (12th, 17:54.03) and Jacob Limb (21st, 18:49.21) completed the St. Mary’s team score with Alex Bodnar also participating.

Thomas MacLaren had Ian Osko (seventh, 17:35.91), Tim Kewley (eighth, 17:39.71) and Jay Wood (11th, 17:46.31) running in a pack in the top 15, while Jonathan Brown crossed 26th, in 19:13.08, to complete the team score, a little more than a minute before teammate Ransom Watts.

Thomas MacLaren School sophomore Gabriele Hibbit was the area’s lone qualifier from the girls’ race after placing 17th in 23:30.7.