Soroco senior takes home top-3 finish, sets precedent for the future of Rams cross country
COLORADO SPRINGS — At the two-mile mark, the stadium hears an announcement over the loudspeaker.
“I’ve just received word that Chloe Veilleux and Katie Fankhouser are within one second of each other. This is going to be a good one.”
Minutes later, Central Lyons’ junior Fankhouser sprints in stride with Central Lyons’ freshman Quin Gregg comfortably behind her in second. Veilleux had fallen back, but once Gregg was near the finish, Veilleux came sprinting from the back of the stadium to finish in 19 minutes, 46.8 seconds. It was a time faster than the 19:47.20 her sophomore year and 19:51.8 last year, but not enough for the place she wanted.
Girls individual results
1. Katie Fankhouser, Lyons, 19:24.5
2. Quin Gregg, Lyons, 19:36.7
3. Chloe Veilleux, Soroco, 19:46.8
18. Betsey Veilleux, Soroco, 21:40.9
26. Kayedence Bruner, Soroco, 22:33.7
61. Kourtney Bruner, Soroco, 24:16.4
65. Hailey Minnick, Soroco, 24:45.3
79. Kayla Rossi, Soroco, 25:45.2
Girls team results
1. Lyons (15)
2. Platte Canyon (43)
3. Soroco (47)
Boys individual results
1. Seth Bruxvoort, Heritage Christian Academy, 16:09.3
2. Micah Zeller, Custer County, 16:25.5
3. Isaac Roberts, Lyons, 16:36.6
49. Alex Colby, Soroco, 19:08.1
The Soroco senior had hoped to reclaim her title from her sophomore year after taking sixth last year, but she was unable to hold her lead and fell to third.
“I didn’t finish where I wanted to,” Veilleux said. “But, it was just an off day. Happens sometimes. I know if I was having a good day, it could’ve had a different outcome. It was still fun.”
But that’s Veilleux’s attitude, accepting nothing short of her goals. She congratulated the two Lyons runners she had battled with throughout the entire race and walked up to the podium with pride.
“First, I asked if she was ok, because I know she wanted first,” head coach Callie Bradley said. “I told her I know that’s the best you had on this day. Can’t ask for more. She’s a senior, and that hasn’t hit me yet.”
Veilleux, although not thrilled, was cracking jokes moments later about how the state medals get smaller every year. As the Soroco runners settled outside the stadium, hugging their families, they learned they took third overall as a team.
“Everybody did what they were supposed to do,” Bradley said. “They placed about what they should’ve. I know we were hoping to be in the running for first, but a top-3 finish is commendable.”
Veilleux, the only senior on the girls varsity team, leaves behind a legacy of greatness: three state appearances and aiding her team’s overall sixth-place finish last year and third-place finish this year.
Other than Veilleux, the team has four freshmen: Betsey Veilleux, Kayedence Bruner, Hailey Minnick and Kayla Rossi and one junior, Kourtney Bruner, to carry the torch next year.
“Next year, I’ll be the only senior,” Kourtney said. “We’re losing Chloe, but I think we have a chance to do well.”
Betsey, like her sister Chloe, was disappointed in her performance, but was more emotional thinking about running her last race with her sister.
“You have to push through, even though I was hurting really bad. I have to push through,” Betsey said. “I just wanted to do good as a team for her [Chloe],” Betsey said.
Chloe thinks the state experience will be a key motivator for the years to come.
“Coming into the season, I didn’t expect us to do that well,” Chloe said. “We really pushed for No. 1. I think we could’ve done it, but third place is so good, and it’s so young. They can do better next year.”
The experience is all that Soroco sophomore Alex Colby was here for. Colby was the only Soroco runner to advance to state on the boys’ side, and he just had fun with it.
“I just wanted to run as fast as I can and see how I can do,” Colby said. “Next year, I’ll shoot for bigger things like top-10 finish. This gives me an idea of how it’s like and what it’s like and where I want to be next year.”
Bradley knows there’s some eighth grade talent on the rise for the girls, but the team will lose three of its five boys. But, she thinks Colby’s state appearance is something to use as leverage to entice more athletes to join.
For now, she’s happy with the team she’s built and how hard they worked to inscribe the Soroco name high on the state cross country results sheets.
“I know those workouts are pushing the envelope of what the human body can do, and they just accept every challenge.” Bradley said.
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