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Battle Mountain cross-country team is off to fast start

Middaughs, Pribramsky log wins

Battle Mountain's Sullivan Middaugh leads the way for the Battle Mountain cross-country team in its opening meet in Grand Junction.
Daily file photo

They’re just so happy.

Yes, the season has fewer meets. Yes, they had to run through the smoke of wildfires. Yes, there are technicalities of the coronavirus world — only so many racers can run at once and the schedule as it is known doesn’t exist anymore.

The Battle Mountain cross-country team is running,\]and the Huskies don’t care.

“Just like everything in life, cross-country is much different,” Battle Mountain coach Rob Parish said. “We’ll take it. It’s not lost on us how fortunate we are to be able to practice and compete.”

And let’s face it — the whole point of running is social distancing, and the Huskies do it well.

The varsity

With only 50 runners per race due to COVID-19, the Huskies sent their initial varsity roster to Grand Junction, and, well, they won team and individual titles on Aug. 22.

For the boys, Sullivan Middaugh was first across the line. His time of 16 minutes, 27 seconds was darn impressive given that it was 98 degrees and smoky with wildfires burning throughout the state.

Add that to Ari Dennis, Trey Martin, Kaden Williams and Ethan Fitzcharles and the Battle Mountain gents went 1-3-5-6-7. That combination of finishes generally wins a meet.

The ladies were just as impressive. Elliot Pribramsky is now a senior and rocked it with a 19:04, followed by Haley Brewster. The super froshes, Milaina Almonte and Lily Whelan, are now super sophs, and make way for Kate Dekanich who rounded out the scoring. The ladies went 1-2-3-4-11, and that generally will do it as well.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Eagle Valley and other teams ran the next day. With the Huskies’ race in the afternoon and the Devils’ in the morning and competing under different weather conditions, it’s hard to compare times, not that anyone would do that.

It’s a nice start, and we’ll leave it at that.

The newbies

With a keen eye on avoiding large crowds, a meet cannot have a varsity and a JV race on the same day. Thus, the scramble was on to find a showcase for the Huskies’ younger runners. That led to Basalt last weekend, where Battle Mountain’s JV boys won against varsity competition.

Porter Middaugh ran a 16:59 to take the top step of the podium. (We’re starting to think there might be some athletic talent in the Middaugh family.) Yes, boys and girls, that’s a freshman under 17 minutes in his first race.

William Brunner and Jorge Sinoloa also turned heads. While COVID-19 may have changed a lot of things, Parish loves to see the youngsters push the varsity for competition within the team. While lineups aren’t official for this weekend’s meet, it’s possible that Porter Middaugh and Brunner may get a varsity look.

For the ladies, we introduce the Lindseys — Kiehl and Whitton — as well as Presley Smith who impressed. Also keep an eye on Emma Reeder, a veteran who’s on the comeback trail with regard to the pecking order.

Home meet

Saturday is the Battle Mountain Invitational at Maloit Park in Minturn. With the original meet schedule in tatters — there are none of the traditional signpost meets like the Liberty Bell, St. Vrain and the Dave Sanders — this one still qualifies as a big get-together.

The double defending state champion — both the boys and girls — Niwot will be on hand so this will be a measuring stick.

Spectators are welcome, and very much encouraged to practice social distancing and to wear masks.

The boys go off at 10 a.m., followed by the girls at 10:45 a.m.


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