COLORADO SPRINGS — Mead brothers Nolan and Nathan Hoffman never wanted to let the other win when they were cross country teammates. With Nathan now graduated though, his brother’s latest win was more than OK.

Senior Nolan Hoffman became the state cross country darling when he surprised just about everyone to win the Class 4A boys race at Norris Penrose Event Center Saturday afternoon.

Coming into the day with Colorado’s just 46th-fastest 5K time this season, Hoffman entered the stadium’s final stretch with Battle Mountain’s Porter Middaugh on his heels. Into the chute, he edged Middaugh by .30 seconds with a winning time of 15 minutes and 31.40 seconds.

“I was looking down at the ground, at his shadow, and was like ‘Don’t get closer, don’t let it get closer,’” he said. “That was four years of hard work. I finally did it and it feels incredible.”

His brother Nathan finally exhaled.

“It’s surreal, I’m just so proud of him,” the 2022 Mead grad said. “I was so nervous, so nervous. It was so close. The guy who took second did a great job, too. It was whoever wanted it more. Just grit.”

In the boys’ team race, Cheyenne Mountain edged Niwot for a second straight year — winning with 76 points to the Cougars’ 92.

(Dan Mohrmann/

The Red-Tailed Hawks had Kaden Levings (sixth, 15:56) and Brogan Collins (ninth, 16:01) finish in the top 10. Their other scoring runners were Brian Kerrigan (14th, 16:05), Carter Bayer (20th, 16:28) and Cale O’Day (34th, 16:50).

“There were a lot of people saying we couldn’t do it but I’m just really glad we were able to rise to the occasion,” Levings said. “We didn’t take them lightly last year or the year before. We just had to come here and execute.”

Summit’s Hagen, Niwot girls win 4A girls

(Dan Mohrmann/

Summit sophomore Ella Hagen knew she was in good shape in the midst of a sea of green Niwot jerseys.

Cutting through it would be something special.

Hagen finished ahead of five consecutive Cougars runners to win the 4A state cross country title. Tested for this moment up in the high country of Summit, where she trained through snow and strong winds this past week, she broke through the crowd and was all alone in victory at 17 minutes and 48 seconds.

“You’re up there and it’s just you and them,” Hagen said a year after placing seventh at state. “It’s really energizing and motivating, and you just want to give it your all because they’re giving their all out there.”

Niwot continued its dynasty run, winning its fifth straight 4A team title. Niwot freshman Addison Ritzenhein finished behind Hagen, crossing in 17:56. Teammates Mia Prok (18:18), Bella Nelson (18:24), Madison Shults (18:29) and Lex Bullen (18:35) followed in line, while Mia’s younger sister Anna Prok took eighth.

The Cougars’ 20 team points tied their own class record set from last season. They beat runner-up Battle Mountain by 102.

“That was exactly the plan, just run as a pack, stay together and honestly just have fun together,” said Mia Prok, who finished inside the top three for a third straight year. “It’s just another kind of more high-stakes workout. We were just having the mindset of staying calm and running together.”

The Niwot girls came in with a national XC title from December and its third straight track title in the spring.

(Dan Mohrmann/