Outstanding Colorado High School Distance Athlete Award
Parker Wolfe – Cherry Creek HS
Born and raised in Denver, Parker began his running career early! He showed much promise when he won 3 consecutive Spartan Junior Championship titles. Following the fitness example of his parents (who are both physical therapy doctors), Parker developed into a fierce competitor and a valued teammate at Cherry Creek High School, where he has re-written the record books both at that school and statewide. His coach Ethan Dusto proudly calls him “the best distance runner our state has ever seen”, which is hard to dispute considering all the top performances Parker has established. He eclipsed Cole Sprout’s 2019 State XC course record by 2 seconds, winning the 2020 title in 15:10. His race was an astounding feat considering the COVID-shortened season. Parker powered through his training with constant enthusiasm, embracing the effort (and accompanying discomfort) by knowing it would bring great rewards. Those rewards included being named both the Colorado AND the National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year for 2020, the first ever Colorado high-schooler to receive this prestigious award. Parker won his Regional Championship, the Heritage Distance Classic, the Centennial League Championship and of course the 2020 State XC Championship on his way to winning the Running Lane National Championship race in a scorching (and new course-record) time of 14:26. During the 2021 track season, Parker continued his winning ways with an individual title in the 3200 (9:07) and a runner-up placing in the 1600 (4:10). Parker is just as joyful about his competitors’ and teammates’ successes as he is about his own, which is a testament to his love for the sport. His relentless pursuit of excellence earned Parker a scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he was named the ACC’s Freshman of the Week last month after winning his debut race, the Adidas XC Challenge, in Cary, NC. Parker leads their men’s team, which is currently ranked 23rd nationally.
Parker was also involved in the DECA club at Cherry Creek, volunteered at Warren Village (which provides assistance to low-income single-parent families in our area), and maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.9 at CCHS, which every busy athlete knows is an extremely challenging task!
PR’s: 1:54.38 800m, 4:06.17 1600m, 8:55.94 3200m, 14:06.48 5k
High School Distance Runner Achievement Award Winners
Caleb Boutelle – Pine Creek HS
Caleb has an extraordinary work ethic that he developed early on in life. Despite some physical limitations (namely a hearing deficiency requiring both hearing aids and a cochlear implant at a young age), he used his athletic gifts to launch himself to an elite level of distance running. Stress fractures also plagued Caleb during his high school years—he suffered 5 of them within a 4-year span! With tenacity of purpose and a vision for his eventual success, Caleb powered through with lots of cross-training, cycling, and rehabilitation. From a 51st-place finish at the 4A XC State Championships in 2017 (17:00), Caleb improved by 2020 to 3rd place in a time of 15:31. He was Pine Creek’s sole XC State Qualifier in 2020. At the 2021 State Track & Field Championship Meet, Caleb earned All-State honors in the 800m, the 1600m, and the 3200m, the only 5A male runner to accomplish that! He placed 6th, 3rd, and 2nd in those three distances. Caleb’s talents are not exclusive to athletics, however. He held a cumulative GPA of 4.55 throughout high school, and was ranked 11th of 393 in his 2021 graduating class. Caleb is currently in the pre-med program and running well on the Stanford University team. Having embraced hard work and discipline at a very young age, Caleb has learned to persevere through obstacles to achieve the highest of goals.
PR’s: 1:53.24 800m, 4:11.42 1600m, 9:04.99 3200m, 15:25 5k
Lucca Fulkerson – Niwot HS
Currently a college freshman, Lucca has exemplified the “hard work brings great rewards” standard of achievement that is the hallmark of our sport. She transferred to Niwot High School in the fall of 2019, where the culture of distance running thrives consistently. Her experiences there bore that out, as Lucca competed in and set PR’s at every distance from the 800m through the 5k in her 4 semesters there. She first ran sub-13 minutes for the 2-mile as a middle-schooler, then broke the 20-minute 5k barrier as a freshman, lowered it to 18:24 as a sophomore, followed by a 17:40 mark her junior year, and finally a PR of 17:16.44 as a senior in the Running Lane National Championships for 2020, where she placed 4th overall. Lucca was the 4A Girls champion in the 3200m at the 2021 State Track Meet, captured 2nd place in the 1600m (4:55.08), and won 4th place in the 800m (2:14.56). The Niwot ladies won the 4A 2021 team title by a whopping 145 points! They won in 2019 as well, with Lucca placing 6th in the 1600m and 4th in the 3200m. Lucca assumed the leadership role after her teammate Samrawit Dishon graduated, keeping their winning tradition alive and well. She also excelled in the academic ranks, earning Lucca acceptance into Princeton University, where she is already making her mark on the Tigers’ cross-country team.
PR’s: 2:14.56 800m, 4:50.79 1600m, 10:20.48 3200m, 17:16.44 5k
James Thomas – Broomfield HS
James is a quintessential Colorado kid—he skis, backpacks, plays guitar and hockey, and helps his fellow man whose circumstances are not as fortunate as his own. He also happens to be one of the strongest athletes (both physically and mentally) ever to walk the halls of Broomfield High School. James ran XC in middle school, placing 58th as an 8th-grader in the Boulder Valley School District Finals for 2016. Once he became a freshman at BHS, James steadily improved at the 5k distance, going from a PR of 19:06 in 2017 to 16:22 in 2018, then 15:49 in 2019 and finally 15:06 in 2020. This type of precipitous drop in race times can only be attributed to an athlete’s consistent, dedicated effort and devotion to the process, combined with the proper guidance from an educated coach. James was blessed with both elements at Broomfield High School, culminating in his emergence as one of the most dynamic personalities on the high school running scene. James famously dove across the finish line at his Regional Championship meet of 2020, propelling his team to a berth at the State Meet, where he finished 6thindividually and led his team to place 8th overall. The following spring, James lowered his PR’s again, earning All-State honors once more in the 3200m, and placing 9th in the 1600m. James is currently a student/athlete at Montana State University working on his degree in Environmental Studies.
PR’s: 2:01.33 800m, 4:18.70 1600m, 9:19.54 3200m, 15:06 5k
Taylor Whitfield – Valor Christian HS
Taylor seemed to embrace the shorter distances early on in her running career, but once she raced the 5k, it was clear that her future was anchored in cross-country. Her progression was impressive—starting with an 18:19 best during her freshman season, Taylor improved to a 17:34 mark as a senior. Taylor was a leader for her Valor Christian High School girls’ squad, finishing 6th (to earn All-State honors) at the XC State Meet in 2020, where her team placed 3rdoverall. Taylor first dipped under the 5-minute-mile barrier as a sophomore, and maintained that speed for the next two years, which is a rare feat among the high school girls ranks. Taylor is a great example to her teammates with her exceptional work ethic, her devotion to a team-first attitude, and her versatility as a runner. She placed 3rd in the 2021 State Championship Track Meet for the 3200m, 5th in the 1600m, and helped her 4X800m team to a runner-up finish, all of which vaulted the Valor Christian ladies to a 5A team title by nearly 50 points. It was their third State team victory for track during Taylor’s tenure (they won in 2018 and 2019 as well). She was also a member of their national XC team, which placed 8th at the Nike Cross Nationals race in 2019. Taylor shined with her schoolwork as well, earning First Team academics honors in both 2019 and 2020. These days, Taylor continues her winning ways at Baylor University, where she is a freshman member of the cross country and track teams.
PR’s: 2:21.27 800m, 4:56.07 1600m, 10:35.94 3200m, 17:33.23 5k
Harrison Witt – Mountain Vista HS
The 800m is arguably one of the toughest races on the track. It requires a combination of raw speed, keen racing tactics, big-time strength, and an ability to endure significant pain. To break an already fast state record in that event is a tall order, but Harrison did just that…..placing the new mark at a lofty 1:48.50. He has been a tough young runner since his middle-school days, racing against other stars including Caleb Boutelle and Parker Wolfe. Harrison honed his talents at Mountain Vista High School, where distance running enjoys a celebrated tradition of success. He chipped away at all his PR’s, going from 17:28 as a freshman to 14:39 as a senior in the 5000m, and dropping his 800m time by a whopping 12 seconds in that same span. It’s not often that a runner shows this type of versatility! Harrison was named the Colorado Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year for 2021, won both the 800m and 1600m finals at the 2021 State Track Meet (setting new state records for each in the process), and led his team to a championship at the 2020 XC State Meet by finishing 11th individually. Harrison was also a member of his team’s 4X800m State Champion squad in 2019.
Besides all his athletic accolades, Harrison achieved rock-star status in the classroom as well. He was the MVHS Student Body President, a National Merit Finalist, carried a 4.38 cumulative GPA, volunteered to organize middle-school XC races in his district, helped elderly residents stay in their own homes through the Forever Home Foundation, worked with Make-A-Wish to raise money for afflicted children, and participated in several mission trips to Cuba and Guatemala. Harrison is currently a freshman at Princeton University, where he will undoubtedly reach new heights as a scholar and an athlete.
PR’s: 1:48.50 800m, 4:04.36 1600m, 9:25.10 3200m, 14:39.36 5k