Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley XC ready for state | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley XC ready for state

Can anyone topple Niwot?

Battle Mountain girls' cross-country will throw its collective hat into the ring for a state title on Saturday at the Norris-Penrose Event Center.
Mark Pribramsky | Special to the Daily

With the Colorado Springs’ area forecasted to get snow on Wednesday night, and today the high is meant to be 37 degrees, Chsaanow.com published a story reassuring all that the state cross-country meet would continue as scheduled on Saturday at the Norris-Penrose Event Center.

“However, Friday is slated for a high of 53, and Saturday has a high of 64,” the story said.

As if the Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley cross-country teams were worried about a little snow. Come on, people.

In 2006, Battle Mountain cross-country, then a joint program of both schools, hosted regionals at the Willow Creek Par-3 in EagleVail. It snowed that morning and the parents shoveled the course.

Let it snow. The Huskies and Devils are ready.

Now that scary, snowy weather is out of the way, it’s time to confront something truly scary — Niwot.

The Cougars

In the pre-state coaches’ poll on milesplit.com, Niwot is No. 1 among both the 4A boys and girls. Battle Mountain’s boys are seventh. The Huskies’ girls are third (Niwot and Air Academy), while the Devils girls are eighth.

Run ye olde milesplit.com virtual-meet function, and the Niwot girls will run away from Battle Mountain, 41-110, for the state title. Eagle Valley would be ninth. The Niwot boys will edge Air Academy with Battle Mountain in fifth.

There’s really no reason either Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley should show up because Niwot is so good.

Yes, people, this has been the annual milesplit.com motivational portion of the state-preview article.

So you’re saying there’s a chance

No, Battle Mountain coach Rob Parish will not get a Jim Carrey “Dumb and Dumber” haircut, and we really hope that will not be the case for Devils coach Melinda Brandt.

On the team front, one should know that Niwot recorded its fastest times of the year, those used for the simulator, at the Nike Desert Festival in Arizona in September. Those times aren’t at altitude.

Looking closely, Niwot’s No. 2 is Lucca Fulkerson. She’s a transfer, though, which means she could run at Nike but is not eligible for the CHSAA season. In fairness, Niwot’s No. 6 ain’t chopped liver: Joelle McDonald finishes 19th in a virtual meet.

Give Niwot credit. Samrawit Dishon is the favorite for a reason. The Cougars’ second runner is Taylor James, who won four gold medals at last spring’s state meet as a sophomore.

But this is still a race among high schoolers. It is also a race run by humans, who have good days and bad ones.

In 2017, Battle Mountain’s girls scored what was then a record-low 59 points in winning the state meet. In 2018, the Huskies scored just 59 points again and “lost” to Niwot’s new record of 45 points.

In 2016, the Huskies won with a point total in the 80s. In 2005, they won with 130.

Coaches do their best to have their runners in the best shape possible mentally and physically and then let them fly.

The Huskies have their fastest runner ever in Grace Johnson, the two fastest freshmen in program history in Milaina Almonte and Lily Wheelan, and Elliot Pribramsky and Emma Reeder in the middle of that five.

Game on.

Title time?

Back to the simulator, Dishon enters as the runner to beat for the individual title. Nos. 2 and 3 in the computer are Eagle Valley’s Samantha and Joslin Blair. Durango’s Madeleine Burns, a familiar foe, is No. 4.

As noted Niwot’s Fulkerson (No. 5) won’t be racing and No. 6 happens to be Battle Mountain’s Johnson.

Battle Mountain’s Liz Constien won in 2017. Joslin Blair, now a senior, has finished 14th, seventh and sixth in her first three appearances at state. Samantha Blair, a sophomore who doesn’t act her age in a good way, took ninth last year.

The girls race at 9:30 a.m., while the boys go at 11 a.m.