LITTLETON — Jackson Sayler didn’t want to be the guy who just sat on the lead and then outkick everybody else at the end. He wanted to run his own race.
Well, Evergreen teammate Sam Sahli made sure that Sayler wasn’t too far in front at the 4A Jeffco League championships Oct. 12 at Clement Park. Yet, Sayler still, as he said, ran his race and won the league title for the second time in three seasons.
Sayler overcame a late-charging Sahli at the finish line, winning the race in 16 minutes, 53 seconds. Sahli was just a second behind, while Conifer’s Kevin Johnson came in third in 17:11.
It was one of a pair of individual league titles for Evergreen as senior Sammy Skold won the girls race when she held off teammate Camille Morales. Skold won in 19:36, while Morales was 11 seconds back.
Though Sayler held an early lead only for Sahli to pass him in the second mile, he knew from previous workouts that he could run down his teammate.
“He got me down the stretch right there, probably 10 yards in front of me. But I knew from our track workouts that I had a little more speed than him going into the finish. At that point it’s not really a challenge or a training race it’s more of a heart race. Who wants it more than the other guy. I guess I just wanted it a little more than Sam did,” Sayler said.
Sahli didn’t disagree.
“I absolutely agree with that. It’s whoever wants it the most, and he obviously wanted it more than me,” Sahli said.
They’re one-two finish put Evergreen in position for a team title as well, but Conifer, behind a a strong latter pack snuck out the league championship. Both teams scored 53 points after their top five runners. But Conifer’s sixth runner, Dylan Reed, beat out Evergreen’s Daniel Holmes by eight seconds to give the tiebreaker to the Lobos. It marked Conifer’s first 4A Jeffco title.
Skold’s victory was also her first Jeffco title and the fifth consecutive for Evergreen. Bryn Haebe won three straight from 2008-10, while Maura O’Brien won last year’s title. Her predecessors, especially Haebe, played an inspiring role, Skold said.
“I’ve been trying to follow Bryn Haebe’s footsteps since my freshman year. I love that girl. She’s definitely been a motivation, especially after what happened to Ryan and how strong she has stayed with her running career,” Skold said. “I’m completely inspired by her.”
Haebe’s older brother, Ryan, a former Evergreen cross country runner, was seriously injured from a fall this past summer in Boulder.
Evergreen’s top five females finished in the top 20 to give the Lady Cougars 42 points and a team title as well. Caitlin Schmitt came in fourth (20:06), Jane Jensen was 15th (21:17) and Emily Schulz was 20th (21:45). D’Evelyn came in second with 58 points.
4A JEFFCO LEAGUE
OCT. 12, CLEMENT PARK,
BOYS, TEAM SCORES: Conifer 53, Evergreen 53, Golden 86, Wheat Ridge 91, Green Mountain 98, D’Evelyn 102, Alameda 228, Arvada 241,
BOYS, TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS: Jackson Sayler, Evergreen, 16:53; Sam Sahli, Evergreen, 16:54; Kevin Johnson, Conifer, 17:11; Carter Prescott, D’Evelyn, 17:15; Brian Whitfield, Wheat Ridge, 17:22; Evan Verbal, D’Evelyn, 17:35; Ian McGhie, Conifer, 17:39; Thomas Warren, Evergreen, 17:40; Mitch Hoffman, Conifer, 17:42; Alec Hornbecker, Golden, 17:43
OTHER EVERGREEN RUNNERS: Matt Kline, 18:06; Daniel Holmes, 18:48; Nick Gilbert, 18:49; Andy Seracuse, 19:06
GIRLS, TEAM SCORES: Evergreen 42, D’Evelyn 58, Wheat Ridge 73, Golden 83, Green Mountain 113, Conifer 150, Arvada 201
GIRLS, TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS: Sammy Skold, Evergreen, 19:36; Camille Morales, Evergreen, 19:47; Olivia Treitman, Golden, 20:00; Caitlin Schmitt, Evergreen, 20:06; Annecy Olson, D’Evelyn, 20:06; Josie Warren, D’Evelyn, 20:07; Sophia Fernald, Wheat Ridge, 20:15; Emily Garnier, D’Evelyn, 20:21; Cammy Sargent, Green Mountain, 20:24; Sophia Wubben, Golden, 20:36
OTHER EVERGREEN RUNNERS: Jane Jensen, 21:17; Emily Schulz, 21:45; Annie Trimarco, 21:52; Blair Bokelman, 24:08