Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley cross-country ready for state meet | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley cross-country ready for state meet

Colorado's top high school cross-country runners converge on Colorado Springs for the state meet on Saturday, Oct. 27, including teams from Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley high schools competing in Class 4A.

The Huskies girls are two-time defending state champions, and the Devils girls are looking for a top 10 finish, the best in the program's short history.

After missing the state cross-country meet last year, the Battle Mountain boys are excited to be back, but not satisfied. Eagle Valley boys finished 11th at last year's meet, the best finish in program history, and will be running five seniors on Saturday.

"I think Eagle County is going to have a great showing," Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. "In the end, it's great to have a competitive region — but also challenging."

BATTLE MOUNTAIN GIRLS

The Huskies started the season ranked No. 1 before Niwot took the top ranking during the last month or so of the season.

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"We haven't raced them but know they're very good, extremely well coached and have a good running community," Battle Mountain coach Rob Parrish said. "They have a lot of running history in their school. They're a powerhouse, but we don't really know what to expect."

The Huskies appear to be loaded with senior sisters Naomi and Lizzy Harding, Grace Johnson, Elliott Pribramsky, Emma Reeder, Brogan Murray and freshman Coco Diemar.

"Most of them are veterans at this course and the state meet," Parrish said. "We've got a race plan, and if they execute and go for broke I think we'll be doing just fine."

On the individual side, the Harding sisters and Johnson will all be looking to crack the top-10.

"The state this year from an individual side has probably the top 10 individual runners that the state has ever had," Parrish said.

Sophomores Primramsky and Reeder have come on strong the last couple of weeks, Parrish said.

"I think the goal is always to run your hardest and put everything you have into the season and the race, and I'm sure that we'll do that," Parrish said of his teams. "Another goal this season is to enjoy the journey, and we've certainly done that."

EAGLE VALLEY GIRLS

The Devils girls haven't qualified for state since 2010 and are looking to crack the top 10, which would be the best finish in program history.

"To qualify for state on the girls' side was our initial goal, but we know that we're capable of more than just qualifying," Brandt said.

Joslin Blair will be in the running to win the individual title.

"As her coach, she's fighting for it and wants it, and we believe in her 100 percent," Brandt said.

Samantha Blair, Joslin's freshmen sister, is getting her first crack at the state meet.

The Blair sisters went 1-2 in the pre-state race in August.

Avery Doan has also had an impressive season and is running well.

"Our goals are bold and they are reachable," Brandt said. "They are primed and ready, and we're really excited to see them take off on Saturday."

Doan is the lone senior in this group of seven, with three freshmen rounding out the team.

BATTLE MOUNTAIN BOYS

The Huskies boys are a regular at the state meet, except for last year when David Reilly was the only one to attend, as an individual.

"We are ecstatic they made it back there, where they belong, but they are not satisfied to just be there," Parrish said. "They've set a goal of being in the top five or six in the state."

Reilly, a senior, leads the group and is excited to be back, this time with his team.

Most of the Huskies boys will return next year.

"I think they're just really excited to show off all their hard work," Parrish said "They've been training and getting after it since June, so they're excited to show off what they've been working for."

EAGLE VALLEY BOYS

A team led by five seniors looks to build on the Devils 11th-place finish last year at the state meet.

"We have some guys who are primed and ready," Brandt said. "We are racing five seniors who have put in a lot of sweat over the last four years."

Looking for a top 10 finish and to knock off some teams that have beat them this season, Eagle Valley is led by Carter Baker.

"He's really looking to make a name for himself on the big stage," Brandt said.

The rest of the seven-man squad are all closer together.

"It's been fun to see who steps up each week," Brand said. "All the guys are just looking to have that awesome day together."

Assistant editor Ross Leonahrt can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.