BEAVER CREEK — One cannot accuse Battle Mountain cross country of not putting on a good show for the home crowd.
The Huskies swept their home meet on Saturday at Beaver Creek. The ladies were dominating. As Battle Mountain coach Rob Parish aptly put it, “Any time your fifth runner is 13th, that takes care of business.”
Yes, it does. What’s also interesting to watch with the Battle Mountain ladies are the sophomores. Val Constien and Sydney Gaylord have established their bona fides, but Hannah Gaylord, Rychelle Denardo and Anabelle Johnson have stepped it up and that bodes well for the season.
Gaylord cut a whopping 8 minutes off her time from last season on this course. In her case, she put a temporary hold on working on figure skating to run this summer.
“I practiced over the summer four days a week,” the sophomore said. “The whole summer, I practiced a lot more. Last year, I was more into figure skating. I dropped the figure skating, but I’ll go back to it. I’m just more committed to cross country now.”
And if she drops another 8 minutes next year at Beaver Creek, she’ll put up a time of 15 minutes, 35 seconds.
“Probably not,” Gaylord said with a chuckle.
Either way, the three Huskies sophomores “have legitimized our team,” according to Parish.
On the boys’ side, it was a day of redemption for Ethan Pence. He had a difficult time at the season opening pre-state meet down in Colorado Springs, finishing out of the scoring five.
“I think I just ran a little bit smarter,” Pence said. “At pre-state, it just didn’t go as planned. Today, I started out slower and killed it in the end. I think it’s just the excitement of being on the state course again, and it being the first race. Once I’m back in the groove, it just works itself out.”
For Eagle Valley, the boys finished second, and this could be the beginning of some nice back-and-forth action between the two Eagle County teams. Gino Giovagnoli finished third, and that’s a clear statement that he’s making the adjustment from track to cross country.
“Gino’s made a great transition,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “Nathan (Maddox) and the guys on varsity have really guided him through the transition. Nathan and Gino were 1-2 and last week. Gino got the top spot (on the team) this week. They’re going to be running together all year.”
Giovagnoli won the boys’ Hoss Award for the Devils, while Michaela Thompson took it for the girls.
Eagle Valley gets to race at home next week at the Gypsum Creek Golf Course. The citizen’s race, The Devils’ Dash, is at 9 a.m. The boys race at 10 a.m., followed by the girls at 10:45 a.m.
Battle Mountain is at the Liberty Bell on Friday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.