COLORADO SPRINGS — Battle Mountain boys cross-country is back.
OK, the Huskies really didn’t go anywhere. They’ve been doing their thing the last few seasons, but there’s a tradition of winning when it comes to Battle Mountain running, and the guys have struggled the last few years.
The Battle Mountain boys finished fifth in the invitational division of Thursday’s Cheyenne Mountain Stampede, while the ladies were fourth, a fine jumping-off point for what the Huskies expect to be a big season.
“I think the guys’ finish was strong,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “It was a very competitive race with 30 teams competing between the open and the invitational races (in 4A). So to be fifth out of 30 teams was a great start for the fellows.”
Here’s why Parish was so excited about the fellows. He did not have his binder, which chronicles all times from every race during his tenure, on him at the time, but he knew they were down from last year’s gathering in Colorado Springs. (Seriously, the coach could probably look up what Grant Stevenson’s time was here in 2004.)
Cameron Moore went from 18 mintues, 49 seconds to 17:38. Josh Braun’s down from 18:37 to 18:19. Alexis Aguirre took fifth ... in the JV race last year. He was at 18:37 in the varsity on Thursday.
Battle Mountain’s fifth-place finish was just 12 points out of second. Durango won the meet, and that puts the Demons officially on the Huskies’ radar. Durango and Battle Mountain will cross paths again likely at assorted meets this fall, including the regional meet in October in Delta.
As is usually the case, success in the fall comes in the wake of a lot of sweat during the summer. Parish said that the guys had run 500 miles each during the offseason (That is not a typo.)
“Another thing that impressed me was their maturity,” Parish said. “They started out slower and finished stronger. They’re more mature and patient as a group.”
The above would be Rychelle Denardo, Hannah Gaylord and Anabel Johnson, who are the varsity returnees for the Battle Mountain girls. The trio did their thing, leading the Huskies.
There are also youngsters on their way up, which is happy-making for Parish.
“By and large, we’re fairly new to varsity running,” he said. “Today was the first varsity appearance (Megan) Rossman, (Melissa) Delgado and Izzy (Calabrese).”
Battle Mountain’s top-five were all juniors, more good news for the future. And there may be more on the way. Freshman Kaela Fahrney clocked a 23:30 during the JV race. That’s a time which would have put her squarely in the middle of varsity times.
While this was a good start for both teams, there’s more to do before Delta a week from today.
“I think the girls and boys have focused so much on trail running and building a base, which great for endurance and cardiovascular capacity,” Parish said. “But we have not had the turnover component yet. We will start slowly to incorporate more speed.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.