Jenna Fitzsimmons and Cole Sprout couldn't be caught during the high school cross country season. Fitzsimmons, a junior for the state champion Mountain Vista team, is the 2018 Colorado Community …
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Jenna Fitzsimmons and Cole Sprout couldn't be caught during the high school cross country season.
Fitzsimmons, a junior for the state champion Mountain Vista team, is the 2018 Colorado Community Media South Metro Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Sprout, a junior at Valor Christian, is the Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Both won their second consecutive individual state championships on Oct. 27 at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
Fitzsimmons, a three-time winner of the Colorado Community Media South Metro Girls Cross Country Runner of Year award, ran away from her closest competitors over the last mile and won the 2018 state title by 13 seconds with a time of 18:12.3
“It was so fun to have such an amazing team,” said Fitzsimmons, who is always reluctant to talk about herself. “We all push each other. Any day you are not feeling good they are right next to you to push you along in a workout or even on a run.
“A lot of times when I was doubting myself and not sure what was going to happen I was like doing it for other girls on the team, knowing they are putting in the work and knowing every point counts. I was just seeing what happened at state. The other girls were right next to me, pushing me.”
Fitzsimmons had two older two sisters, Delany and Mauren, run for Mountain Vista and she always seemed to outdistance other runners and helped the Golden Eagles repeat as 5A girls team state champions.
“Jenna is a hardworking and selfless individual who always puts the needs of the team ahead of her own,” said Mountain Vista coach Jonathan Dalby. “It is pretty special when an athlete defends a state championship as an individual. For Jenna, however, the win was more about helping her team than it was about personal accolades for her. She is a special athlete and we are lucky to have her on our team here at Mountain Vista.”
Sprout is also a special athlete who captured the 4A championship in 2017 and had an easy time winning the 5A title this season. Like Fitzsimmons, he finished way ahead of other competitors and broke the course record by 17 seconds with a time of 15:16.1.
“It's really hard (without challengers),” admitted Sprout. “It takes a lot of guts mentally. You have to keep yourself on because it is easy to kind of drift off and slow down a little bit when there is nobody right there pushing you.
“I've kind of always had the mental toughness. I train by myself and in most races I am usually by myself. I feel like I ran well all season. It takes a couple minutes but thinking about the season now it was pretty incredible. I felt a lot stronger for sure and a lot faster this year.”
Valor coach Greg Coplen pointed out that Sprout ran a 14:32 at the Desert Twilight in Arizona in September, which was the fastest time in the nation this season.
“Cole had an absolutely fantastic season and he has some big goals ahead,” said Coplen. “He's a 4.0 student and about as humble of a kid as you'll ever find.”
Sprout recently won the Nike Southwest Regional meet on Nov. 17 in Casa Grande, Arizona, with a time of 14:39.1.
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