Steamboat, Soroco qualify for state cross country | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat, Soroco qualify for state cross country

Soroco's Ben Kelley, center, runs in the Class 2A boys state championship race last year. He earned the chance to return to that race on Saturday, and he'll do so with the best time in the state.

A pack of local high school cross country runners is headed to the state championship meet after a successful trip Friday to the regional cross country meet in Delta.

Steamboat Springs High School's girls team easily won its race, advancing its entire varsity roster to state in Class 3A. The Soroco girls team was second in Class 2A, accomplishing the same feat. Soroco's Ben Kelley, meanwhile, easily won the boys 2A race to earn his third trip to state. Steamboat freshman Sumner Cotton placed eighth and will be making his first state trip.

Domination was the story for both the Steamboat girls, and for Kelley.

The Sailors took the top three spots on the girls side. Sophomore Maggi Congdon led the way, finishing the five-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 34.40 seconds. Winter Boese, a junior, wasn't far behind, finishing second in 18:54.70, and senior Dasha Kuznetsova was third in 19:17.10.

Sadie Cotton was 18th and Isabelle Boniface 20th to round out the scoring for Steamboat. That gave the team a score of 44, easily enough to win the region.

Moffat County, second at 74 points; Gunnison, third with 88; and Aspen, fourth at 92, all also qualified their teams.

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For the Soroco boys, Kelley's race wasn't quite enough to get his whole team qualified. The Rams finished fifth with 55 points, just two behind No. 4 Telluride.

Kelley, however, was blazingly fast. He finished in 15:52.53. That improved his personal best by more than seven seconds. His season-best time was already the best in the state. Now he's run a 5K 13 seconds faster than anyone else in Class 2A in Colorado.

Soroco's girls qualified as a team for state for the first time thanks to the addition of some depth in the offseason.

Chloe Veilleux, the defending 2A state champion, was third Friday in 19:47.15. Soleil Gaylord of Telluride won the race in 19:09.97.

Charlee Veilleux placed 13th for the Rams. Kourtney Bruner was 17th and Mattie Rossi 22nd.

The top three finishes gave Soroco a score of 32, good for second behind Paonia, which had 23.

Crested Butte had 37 and Mancos 42 to round out the state-bound teams.

Athletes who finished in the top 15 also qualified, letting Kelley in for Soroco, and Sumner Cotton for Steamboat. Cotton finished his race in 17:34.69.

Aubrey Morrison was 36th, Wes Armbruster 42nd, Cooper Jones 43rd, Quinn Wellman 48th and Kyle Spognardi 62nd.

Steamboat's score of 177 placed it sixth, but it wasn't far away from qualifying. Gunnison won the boys event. Moffat will go to state with 56 points. Pagosa Springs was third at 114 and Olathe fourth with 169. Bayfield was six points back of that in fifth with 175 and Steamboat just two more points behind.

The state meet will take place Saturday in Colorado Springs.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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