Grandview standout Oakley wins national title
Colorado high school girls stood out at the Nike Cross Country national championships Saturday in Portland, Ore.
Grandview’s Brie Oakley, who spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and won the state’s Class 5A cross country title, won the 5-kilometer girls race at the national meet in 17 minutes, 10 seconds, nearly half a minute ahead of Ember Stratton of Portland. Three-time Colorado 5A champion Lauren Gregory of Fort Collins High School finished third in 17:40.
“This was my main goal all season, after state,” Oakley said. “I wanted to end my season on a really good note. It was a dream of mine to win nationals. Being able to do it was like the icing on the cake.”
Oakley was a soccer player until fall 2015, when she tried out for cross country and discovered she had exceptional talent for running. She finished second at the state cross country meet in 2015 and won two state titles on the track last spring. She will run for the University of California next year.
Despite her dominating season in 2016, Oakley acknowledged she felt pressure going into the meet ranked No. 1.
“I thought the race would be a lot closer than it was,” Oakley said. “I was a little shocked by that. I just tried to keep my lead and do whatever it took to come out on top. I knew it was my last race (as a high school cross country runner) and, no matter what, I was going to be happy, just working hard.”