Battle Mountain Huskies, Eagle Valley Devils XC notch wins at Delta | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain Huskies, Eagle Valley Devils XC notch wins at Delta

This pretty much sums up the girls' race at the Panther Fest down in Delta on Friday, Oct. 6. Eagle Valley's Joslin Balir is in the process of setting a school record and winning the race while pursued by pretty much all of Battle Mountain. The Huskies won the team title.

DELTA — Was the Panther Fest cross-country meet on Friday, Oct. 6, in Delta a regional preview?

Eagle Valley's boys won, while — try not to be shocked — Battle Mountain's girls took the victory.

Will these teams be the ones on the podium at the Region 1 Meet in Frisco on Thursday, Oct. 19? The Huskies ladies are the overwhelming favorites at regionals. They're the defending state champions and have won whatever one calls the regional meet six years running.

But the Devils' boys are looking as a very legitimate regional contender after Friday's race. And, yes, we hear you, Huskies fans, the Battle Mountain boys are the defending Region 1 champions, and will not relinquish the crown without a fight.

The lowdown from Friday's races as records fell and personal bests were achieved down in Delta.

Devils

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The Devils boys aren't shy about it, nor should they be. They think they can win Region 1.

"We want to compete with the best," Eagle Valley coach Melinda Brandt said. "We're definitely going hard for regionals. We want to see a regional title here at Eagle Valley. They boys are definitely reaching big."

The Devils beat the Huskies, 47-64, on Friday, and that's two wins for Eagle Valley against Battle Mountain when both teams were at full strength this season. Branch was the boys' Hoss winner, while Branch, Jack Neifert, Carter Becker, Bailey Beckum and Emerson Betz all logged personal bests.

Speaking of Betz, the sophomore has run his way onto the Eagle Valley regional team with his performances the last three weeks. He impressed on the JV level at the Dave Sanders Invitational and has made the most of his two varsity starts recently.

Joslin Blair will probably make the regional team. We're just guessing. She won the race on Friday, ahead of a pack of Battle Mountain black. What's more, she blew past her own school record with a time of 17 minutes, 53 seconds. Her old mark was 18:19.

That's also going to be the answer to a trivia question. Who was the first Eagle Valley cross-country female to go under 18 minutes?

Katy Grewe, Sofie Boggs (the girls' Hoss winner) and Carley Beckum all notched personal bests.

The bigger issue facing the Devils ladies is how to qualify for state as a team. Region 1 is the best of the four regional qualifiers in 4A with Battle Mountain, Golden, Evergreen and Green Mountain.

"Our girls are going to come out and fight," Brandt said.

This was Eagle Valley's last regular-season meet. The Devils will head over the pass to scout the course next week in advance of regionals.

Huskies

All the Huskies girls did was go 2-3-4-5-6 behind Blair. Battle Mountain won, 20-75, against second-pace Eagle Valley.

Battle Mountain's varsity seven was all under 19 minutes, a very rare accomplishment at altitude. There are only a few teams nationwide that can do that at sea level.

This was Battle Mountain's first chance to run a speedy course, and they did not disappoint. Liz Constien ran a 17:56. That's just 1.6 seconds off the school record, held by some lady named Val Constien.

Before Val got the record, Erika Ghent and Mandy Ortiz held the mark at 18:38. Battle Mountain's fifth runner, Grace Johnson, had an 18:41 on Friday. The Huskies are running on a different level.

"We gotta to get them to figure out the plan and run a little better," Huskies coach Rob Parish joked.

On the boys' side, give it up for Nick Williams, David Reilly, Jason Macaluso, Jake Allen, Deagan Fahrney and Nico Piliero. All had personal bests. Allen was the big mover this week, punching in at fourth on the team.

"The boys are coming along," Parish said. "They're improving every week. Jake Allen (recorded a personal record) by a minute-and-a-half."

Battle Mountain is headed to Rifle on Thursday, Oct. 12. This will not be a full-scale race for the Huskies.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Panther Fest

Boys

Team results

1. Eagle Valley 47; 2. Battle Mountain 64; 3. Montrose 98; 4. Central 108; 5. Fruita Monument 159

Individual results

4. Aiden Branch, Eagle Valley, 16:19

6. Jack Neifert, Eagle Valley, 16:30

8. Nick Williams, Battle Mountain, 16:49

10. Carter Baker, Eagle Valley, 17:02

11. David Reilly, Battle Mountain, 17:05

12. James Moran, Battle Mountain, 17:08

13. Emerson Betz, Eagle Valley, 17:12

14. Bailey Beckum, Eagle Valley, 17:13

18. Jason Macaluso, Battle Mountain, 17:23

19. Jake Allen, Battle Mountain, 17:23 (tenths)

22. Deagen Fahrney, Battle Mountain, 17:31

24. John Papadopoulos, Eagle Valley, 17:35

25. Nico Piliero, Battle Mountain, 17:39

28. Luke Morrissey, Eagle Valley, 17:46

Girls

Team results

1. Battle Mountain 20; 2. Eagle Valley 75; 3. Fruita Monument 107; 4. Montrose 112; 5. Paonia 140.

Individual results

1. Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley, 17:53

2. Elizabeth Constien, Battle Mountain, 17:56

3. Naomi Harding, Battle Mountain, 17:57

4. Alex Raichart, Battle Mountain, 18:32

5. Lizzy Harding, Battle Mountain, 18:39

6. Grace Johnson, Battle Mountain, 18:41

8 Avery Doan, Eagle Valley, 18:53

9. Megan Bamford, Battle Mountain, 18:54

10. Kaela Fahrney, Battle Mountain, 18:57

13. Katy Grewe, Eagle Valley, 20:21

26. Sofie Boggs, Eagle Valley, 21:43

27. Alissa Barry, Eagle Valley, 21:52

31. Carley Beckum, Eagle Valley, 22:24

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