DELTA — Call it a three-peat or a six-peat, Battle Mountain girls cross-country is just darn good.
The Huskies ladies obliterated the competition at regionals on Friday at Delta for their third consecutive Western Slope title. And that’s a six-peat for several members of the team, if one counts three-straight regional titles in track and field in the spring.
“The kids looked great this week,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “They were fast, rested and relaxed. I didn’t back off them that much. We had a big workout (last) Saturday, and two decent workouts during the week.”
It seemed to work out nicely. Battle Mountain’s fifth and final scoring runner was Rychelle Denardo in 11th. The Huskies had just 34 points — lower is better in cross-country — and easily out-distanced a very good Durango team (61).
The stat of the day is 17 minutes, 55 seconds. That would be Battle Mountain’s Val Constien’s time on Friday. It sounds condescending to say so, and we apologize in advance, but she’s a girl, and girls just don’t break 18 minutes. (Constien would have finished in the top third of Friday’s boys’ race.) Two years ago, Battle Mountain’s Mandy Ortiz won this meet with a time of 18:45. Erika Ghent and Ortiz previously held the school record of 18:38, which Constien broke at the Liberty Bell earlier this season with an 18:35.
The Battle Mountain senior smashed her own record by 40 seconds — a lifetime in running — on Friday.
“I guess I knew I was going really fast because of how badly my body hurt,” Constien said. “I guess I was very rewarded for my effort.”
“To record a time under 18 at altitude for females is unheard of,” Parish said. “She’s a once-in-a-coaching-career runner.”
As impressive as Constien was, it wasn’t just her for the Huskies. Sydney Gaylord was fourth in 19 minutes-flat.
“I know after talking with my teammates after the race that their goal was to get out in a decent pace and to work on (catching) girls,” Constien said. “This is a huge breakthrough for Rohannabel.”
For those not fluent in Huskies-speak, Rohannabel is a conglomerate of Denardo, Hannah Gaylord and Anabel Johnson. Those three pushed it, and helped the Huskies defeat Durango. In a sign of the team’s depth, Battle Mountain’s Christina Shearon (16th), Lilly McMurrain (22nd) and Katie Matarese (23rd) did not score for the Huskies.
The boys took third on Friday and qualified for the state meet. Freshman Alexis Aguirre was the story as he finished third on the team and 21st overall at 17:06.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect him to run that fast,” Parish said. “I talked to him and said that if one of the top-five (runners) was off, to be ready to jump up there. He took those orders and ran with it.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.