Valor Christian dominates at Cross Country State Championships

Brooke Wilson and Valor Christian Boys win State

The+Valor+Boys+win+5A+State.+%28From+left+to+right%29+Cory+Gilbert+%28SO%29%2C+Judah+Crooks+%28SO%29%2C+Dane+Eike+%28JR%29%2C+Drew+Costelow+%28SR%29%2C+Kaeden+Dendorfer+%28SO%29%2C+Enzo+Swan+%28SO%29%2C+Porter+Warren+%28SO%29

The Valor Boys’ win 5A State. (From left to right) Cory Gilbert (SO), Judah Crooks (SO), Dane Eike (JR), Drew Costelow (SR), Kaeden Dendorfer (SO), Enzo Swan (SO), Porter Warren (SO)

Although Valor has always been a contender at the State Championships, they have never won a team title. Last year, the Valor Christian boys’ lost by just a mere 2 points to Mountain Vista. In previous years Valor has also won individual titles in Cole Sprout. However, this all changed last weekend. Additionally, Dane Eike and Drew Costelow both had shots to win the individual race. At previous races, the 3 top teams would always go hand in hand. That is Cherokee Trail, Mountain Vista, and Valor Christian. Any one of these teams could come out on top. The Colorado state course is known for being notoriously tough and this played right into Valor’s favor. As the race started, the 3 powerhouse teams were all in the mix. Through the 1 mile split, Mountain Vista was in the lead, while Cherokee Trail was in 2nd, with Valor running in 3rd. With just over 2 miles to go, this was going to be a tight one. Once again, at the 2 mile mark, Mountain Vista was leading, with Valor in 3rd. However what would happen over the final mile of this race would shock everyone. As Vista and CT runners started to fall behind, Valor was now in contention for the win. Valor was led by Senior Drew Costelow, who would sprint to a runner-up finish behind Christian Groendyk (Collins). Dane Eike would run his way into 4th place, while being the top Junior in the field. Finally, Kaeden Dendorfer snuck into the top 10, getting 9th, and was also the top sophomore in the field. So Valor had put 3 runners in before any other team’s second. But as Valor waited for their 4th and 5th runner to solidify the team title, Centaurus and Fairview runners poured in, making it a very close race. However, Enzo Swan and Judah Crooks, both sophomores completed Valor’s score and solidified their schools first ever State Championship in Cross Country. Cory Gilbert and Porter Warren were also able to hold off other contenders.  But what happened after the Valor boys secured the championship was just as shocking. In a wild team race, Centaurus and Fairview snuck into 2nd and 3rd outlasting the other 2 favorites, while Mountain Vista and Cherokee Trail were 4th and 6th respectively. Sophomore Kaeden Dendorfer, who is one of the top sophomores in the country, has this to say on the victory; “Going into the race, I just knew that everyone on the team was going to do what needed to be done in order to Glorify God and God ended up blessing us with the first cross country win in valor History.” Last saturday was truly a remarkable day for the team and left everyone stunned, including Judah Crooks, Valor’s 5th runner; “Honestly sometimes it’s still surreal, we always knew we had the potential to do it but the fact that God blessed us with good races so that we could win was definitely an experience I won’t forget for a long time” This year has been a rollercoaster of events for this team. From not having a coach over the summer to winning the State Championships, this was truly a miracle under God. After the race, the coaches, athletes, and some parents took part in a group prayer, giving thanks to God for a truly wonderful day. However, that was just the boys’ race. The girls also had a strong team, and a chance to prove themselves. Brooke Wilson, Valor Christian’s top runner, also had a chance to win the individual title as one of the best runners’ in the country. She had previously dominated Desert Twilight, which was a national-level race in Arizona. Sophomore Keeghan Edwards has been following in Brooke’s footsteps and has also proven to be one of the nations top up and comers. As the race went on, Brooke continued to run up front, leading a competitive girls race. She eventually broke away, and did it in domination. She wound up becoming the first  girl ever to break 17 minutes on that course and set a course record in doing so. Colorado has seen some of the best runners in history, some going on to win national titles. Yet Brooke shattered the record, proving to be one of the best runners in Colorado history. Close behind, Keeghan ran into 3rd place as the top sophomore in the race. Additionally, Taylor Rorick, Caroline Dennis, Alex Lancaster, Ellie Londo and Gracie Prosceno pushed Valor to a 3rd place finish. Brooke has this to say; “Going into the race I knew I had the potential to win however I was going to have to be the grittiest runner out there. I was so excited crossing the line and I was so beyond thankful to God for giving me the strength I needed!” Additionally, Brooke Wilson also won the 9News Swag Chain Athlete of the week, above all other colorado high school athletes. So with Valor bringing home a historic team championship, a course record, a 3rd place team finish, a runner up individual finish, a 3rd place individual finish, and a 4th place individual finish, it is safe to say that Valor dominated this year’s championships, proving to be one of, if not the best cross country team at 5A State.