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State cross country: Vanguard girls surprised with second-place finish
AURORA • Vanguard coach Steve Read thought his girls’ cross country team finished third behind 2A powerhouses Nederland and Telluride at the state meet at Arapahoe County Fairgrounds. He was proud of his girls, but he wished there was a trophy for third place.
“It’s like coming second to Usain Bolt,” said Read with a laugh before the official results were announced Saturday.
Boy does he love being wrong.
Vanguard slid past Telluride to take second place. The Coursers finished with team score of 25 while Telluride finished with a 27.
The Vanguard girls were over in their team tent when Read broke the news to them.
“I was like, ‘OK girls, go out and cheer on the boys and tell them to do what you did, Read said and then paused for a moment ... “which is take second place.’”
His girls erupted.
“Everyone was like ‘whoa’ and freaked out,” said Vanguard senior Corinne Huthoefer who came in first on her team. “It was definitely a surprise.”
In 2A, the top three places are counted for the team’s overall score. Vanguard’s Huthoefer, Jessy Sweet and Rachel Hough finished sixth, ninth and 10th respectively. Telluride’s girls went second, seventh and 18th.
“Vanguard was good all year and we knew they’d be tough,” Telluride coach Keith Hampton said. “A couple places shifted either way and it would have been different. It came down to that third girl, and ours is a freshman and she did great.”
Vanguard’s third runner, Hough, is also a freshman.
Telluride came into the meet projected to be the second-best team in the state. At state, its top three combined runners’ times were a minute better than Vanguard’s.
But Read said his strategy the whole time was to remain under the radar.
“I told the girls before (the race), ‘look, Telluride and Nederland aren’t worried about us, they’re running against each other,’” Read said. “Telluride may have gambled, like we did, to stay up with Nederland. And that’s the opening we needed.”
The team’s previous best was when it took fourth in 2009.
Happily for Read, second place came with trophies. Happily for his girls, they are going to Disney World!
Or at least the cross country equivalent of that.
“I think we’re going to Chipotle,” Huthoefer said.