2019 Awards

Outstanding  Colorado HIgh School Distance Athlete Award

Cole Sprout ~ Valor Christian High School 

Cole is a Colorado native, and a junior at Valor Christian High School. He grew up in Evergreen, CO and recently moved to Highlands Ranch, CO in October of 2018.  He enjoys traveling, skiing, mountain biking, hiking and almost anything outdoors.

Cole works part time at Runners Roost in Lone tree and has volunteered at his parents’ dental clinic annual free day, the Denver Rescue Mission food service, Denver inner city outreach, and is heading to Ethiopia this summer with the XC team to help in an orphanage.  Cole has been in National Honor society throughout high school and maintains a 4.1 GPA. His academic interests are math, science and robotics.

He hasn’t made any decisions about college yet but might be leaning towards a warmer climate! He plans to continue his running career throughout college and hopes there may be further opportunities such as the Olympics and running professionally in his future!

He didn’t start to run until the end of middle school, focusing more on mountain bike racing in 5th-8th grades. In 8th grade, running quickly became a passion. Since then he has had the honor of running in the USATF Junior Olympics, and several national high school competitions.

Freshman year he was the CO 3A cross country state runner-up, as well as the 1600m and 3200m state runner-up in track. His sophomore year he was the CO 4A Cross Country state champion, Runner up at the Nike Cross Regional qualifier, and 21st at Nike Cross Nationals-earning All American.

During his sophomore year he was the 4A state champion in the 1600m and 3200m, and runner up in the 2 mile at Brooks PR Nationals, earning a second All American honor. Cole broke the Sophomore National class records in the 3000 and the 2 mile and also broke the CO all class state record in the 3200m. So far in his Junior year he has been the 5A cross country state champion-breaking the state meet record, Regional champion at Nike Cross Regionals, and finished 3rd place at Nike cross Nationals-earning a third All American honor. He recently took second at New Balance Indoor Nationals in the 1 mile-earning a 4th All American honor.

His most memorable event was breaking the Sophomore National Class record in the 3000 set by Drew Hunter (a running superstar) at the legendary Hayward Field in Oregon just before it was torn down.

2019 accomplishments include 2nd at the Arcadia (CA)   3200m in an all-time Colorado boys HS record of 8:40 (the previously record had stood for 16 years).    He also set the 3000m record en route by running 8:10.

PR’s include 4:06 mile, 8:49 2 mile, 14:32 5K

High School Distance Runner Achievement Award Winners 

Camden Gillis ~ Salida High School

Camden has grown up in Salida CO. Camden loves sports and participated in three sports at the same time this last Fall. He raced Cross Country for the first time, raced for the Salida Racing MTB team and played on the varsity soccer team. In one 10-day period he competed in five varsity competitions. This year in cross country, he finished 2nd at the state meet and helped lead his team to a 2nd place finish as well. In mountain biking, he finished 9th overall in varsity and in soccer he was a varsity starter for the entire season finishing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs with his team.

One of his favorite memories from cross country was his first 5K. His sophomore year in high school he jumped on the XC team at the end of the season to go run at the Nike Southwest Regionals race in Arizona. This would be his first xc race. He ended up fishing 3rd (in small schools) and running a time of 16:10. From then on, he realized he wanted to run cross country.

He has a 4.24 GPA and participates in FBLA, Key Club, and the National Honor Society. Camden hasn’t decided on college but would like to major in mechanical engineering and run or bike for the school’s team. Top choices are Colorado School of Mines, Montana State, CU Boulder, and Northern Arizona University.

  • 2nd place 3A Colorado State champion 2018
  • 5K PR (15:55) at Nike SW Regional 2018
  • Mile PR 4:30 Colorado Springs 2018
  • 3rd place small schools Nike SW Regional 2016
  • Tri-Peaks League Champion and runner of the year 2018
  • 1st Place Run through Time Half Marathon 2019
  • Two-time NICA Colorado State Mountain Bike Champion
  • Four year Salida High School starter for Varsity Soccer
  • 4.24 Grade Point Average
  • National Honor Society
  • Salida High School Soccer Academic All-State 2017, 2018
  • Salida High School Track Academic All-State 2018
  • Salida High School Cross County Academic All-State 2018

Quinn McConnell ~ Peak to Peak Charter School

Quinn loves to horseback ride, hike, be in the mountains, drink coffee, study veterinary related topics, speak/study Spanish and travel. She has been on the Dean’s list every semester of High school. She was Scholar-Athlete at Peak to Peak in 2016 and 2017. She plans to become a veterinarian, most likely specializing in large animal care. She has a research internship at Colorado State University Veterinary teaching hospital this summer studying horse injuries. She has volunteered with the Therapeutic Riding Center of CO, helping children and adults with disabilities as they ride horses. She volunteers with Spanish Honor Society at Peak to Peak. She tutors Spanish. She has helped lead international Spanish immersion trips to Costa Rica with Common Ground International. She will also be working soon at Bowhaus Dog Boarding facility.

She will be attending Furman University in South Carolina on an XC/Track Scholarship and then hopes to go to veterinary school, possibly at CSU in Ft Collins.

  • PR’s so far are 2:12.26 (800), 4:50.33 (1 mile), 17.00.10 (5k XC).
  • Memorable race results include All-American 17th place finish at 2016 Nike Cross Nationals, 31st place finish at 2018 Nike Cross Nationals, 2 time CO 3A State XC Champ (2015 and 2017), State track 800 meter champ (2016),
  • World Mountain Running Junior team – 11th place and Silver medal team finish in 2017 (Premana, Italy) and 25th place finish in 2018 (Canillo, Andorra); winner of Desert Twilight XC Invitational in 2018.

 Ares Reading ~ Niwot High School

Ares moved to Colorado from San Diego his Junior year. He is a former Lacrosse athlete but always had a love for running. He is a Nike Cross Country Nationals qualifier & All-American 17th place finisher. He is a Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals qualifier & All-American 19th place finish. He is the Runner-up in the Colorado 4A High School State Cross Country Championship. 14:52 5K PR

He has signed to run with Furman University in South Carolina.



Anna Shults ~ Peak to Peak Charter School

 Anna volunteers at the public library, enjoys reading, photography, drawing, hitting the trails with Bunnie the dog or nordic skiing with the BNJRT Nordic Team.

  • 1st   – New Balance Indoor Nationals Emerging Elite Mile, NYC 2019
  • 1st – Air Force Indoor High School Open Mile, Colorado Springs 2019
  • 2nd – 3A Colorado State Cross Country Championships 2015, 2016, 2018
  • Varsity Letter Cross Country/Track 2015-2018
  • 3A Girls All-State Cross Country and Track
  • First Team All-League Cross Country 2015-2018
  • Outstanding Steen’s Mountain Camper, Oregon 2018
  • 14th – (Top American) World Mountain Running Championships, Andorra 2018
  • 7th – WMRA World Cup International Youth Challenge, Italy 2018
  • All-American – XC Junior Nationals Cross Country Skiing, Lake Placid 2017
  • Nike Cross Nationals 2017
  • 1st – 3A Colorado State Track and Field Championships Mile & 3200, 2017
  • 1st – Cranmore Mountain Race, New Hampshire 2017
  • PR’s 800 – 2:13, 1500 – 4:39, Mile – 4:57, 3200 – 10:46, 5000 – 17:19
  • GPA 4.0
  • Committed to University of Colorado at Boulder – XC/Track

Austin Vancil ~ Dakota Ridge High School

Austin is both a team captain for the cross-country and track team and Student Body Vice President. Austin is very dynamic, focused and driven and he loves to make things happen. He has a sweet nature, which means that Austin is always ready to help others. He does have a gentle relaxed way about him. Austin is fluent in French and has dual nationality (American and French) and maintains a 4.36 GPA in school.

He is heading to the University of Colorado Boulder to study Engineering.

High School highlights include:

  • Nike Cross Nationals 15:08 6th place overall 1st Team All-American
  • Nike Cross Regionals 14:48 (school record)
  • 3rd Overall 1st team All-Southwest Region
  • Colorado State Cross Country Championships 15:42 3rd Overall and 1st Team All-State
  • Jefferson County League Meet 15:17 2nd Overall and 1st Team All-Conference
  • Track: 3200M: 4th at Colorado State Track Meet as a Junior, 9th as a Sophomore
  • 1600M:  8th at Colorado State Track Meet as a Junior
  • 5A Jeffco 1st team All-Conference
  • Nike Cross Nationals 1st Team All American
  • Nike Cross Regionals 1st team All-Southwest Region
  • 2017 and 2018 1st Team All-State Colorado
  • 2016 and 2017 Jeffco League Champion and League MVP
  • Captain of Dakota Ridge Cross Country Team where the team won the Colorado State 5A title in October, won the 5-State Nike Southwest Regional title in Casa Grande, Arizona in November and finished third in the nation at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon in December.
  • PR of 4:16 mile at the Mullen Invite in 2019