GLENWOOD SPRINGS — We will say it until we are blue in the face to remind you.
In cross-country, a team is only as good as its fifth runner come regionals and the state meet, so you better have depth. And that would be our theme for Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain cross-country Friday at the Demon Invitational in Glenwood Springs.
Both squads were running with altered lineups for assorted reasons detailed below, but the depth showed nicely.
Eagle Valley juggled its ladies because Nikki Cunning is recovering from having her appendix removed. We wish her a speedy recovery.
That meant that Chantal Willoughby took as the team’s top runner Friday. Fresh-person Shawna Adams continued her swift rise with a 30th-place finish, and took home the Hoss Award for efforts. Desy Mendoza (ankle) returned to the lineup and had Eagle Valley’s fifth score.
The Eagle Valley ladies took fifth as a team, while the boys were third.
On the boys’ side, Nathan Maddox took over the top spot from Gino Giovagnoli in their season-long friendly duel. Coach Melinda Brandt said she was pleased with how Maddox had an aggressive approach to the race and hung with the lead pack most of the way. Dominic Patterson was also a big mover, jumping into 23rd place overall and fourth on the squad. That’s a Hoss for Mr. Patterson.
“We’re hungry for the end of the season,” Brandt said. “We’re really training hard during this part of the season, and this week, we were still able to perform.”
Battle Mountain coach Rob Parish sat most of its boys and his top-two female runners Friday. His thinking was two-fold. First, these meets are all a process of getting ready for regionals in Delta next month, and the runners whom he sat are in pretty decent shape already.
He also wanted a look at some of his younger runners in a race situation without the usual pecking order of how everyone finishes.
“It’s just part of growing the program,” Parish said. “Alexis Aguirre ran his first varsity race and was second on our team and in the top 25. There were a few 5A teams up here. It wasn’t a chump race. There were some league opponents there.”
Battle Mountain’s girls still finished third, while the boys were sixth.
The Huskies head down to Columbine on Friday, while the Devils are at the Ana Banana on Saturday in Fruita.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.