LITTLETON — So when Battle Mountain cross country lines up at the regional meet in two weeks or so, do you think the Huskies will be intimidated by the competition?
Battle Mountain went down to the Dave Saunders Invitational at Columbine and raced in Division I competition on Friday. The Huskies were one of only two 4A schools in the otherwise 5A field. All the Battle Mountain ladies did was finish third, and the gents 11th.
For the future, maybe Battle Mountain should pick on teams its own size.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Huskies coach Robert Parish said. “I think it was great result for them, the girls and the boys both. We sought out what was the toughest race we could find this week, and they did phenomenal in that situation.”
Grandview and Mountain Vista were the only teams to to the Huskies’ girls. Both of those schools are ranked in the top 10 in CHSAA’s 5A state polls.
Grandview’s Erin Norton, who finished in the top five of the 5A state meet last fall, won the race in 18 minutes, 40 seconds. The Huskies’ Val Constien was second in 18:45. A nice note here was that Norton topped Constien by 20 seconds two weeks ago at the Liberty Bell, so the gap between those two elite runners is closing.
Sydney Gaylord ran “the race of her career,” according to Parish. She was 14th. And Christina Shearon seems to coming on at the point of the season, which is sort of her tradition. She was a noticeable presence among the Huskies’ scorers.
Of the boys, Parish said, “The guys are enjoying racing the best, even though it doesn’t look like they have tremendous results.” First of all, 11th in this field is just fine. Second, the Huskies had four boys in the 17-minute range, which is always good. Their fifth scorer, Ethan Cotton, ran an 18:03, just outside the 17 second range.
This race was why Parish held out a lot of his runners from last week’s Demon Invite in Glenwood Springs. Instead of racing, they were working hard in practice. Battle Mountain will send some runners to Wednesday’s meet at Dakota Ridge. The team will have its final dress rehearsal for regionals at the Windjammer in Englewood Saturday with an eye on regional rival Durango.
“We’re going to go hard for two weeks, and then a week before regionals, we’ll back off a little bit,” Parish said, “We have an eye on the south.”