Battle Mountain Huskies, Eagle Valley Devils cross-county ready for regional meet | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain Huskies, Eagle Valley Devils cross-county ready for regional meet

The kryptonite has been found for Battle Mountain cross-country.

It's called the flu.

It has ravaged the Huskies as the Region 1 Meet approaches on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Frisco Nordic Center.

That's just one of many plotlines as the Huskies and Devils meet up with Evergreen, Glenwood Springs, Golden, Green Mountain, Littleton, Mullen, Palisade, Summit and Wheat Ridge with state berths on the line.

The particulars

• The boys race at 3 p.m.; the girls at 3:45 p.m.

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• The course: Frisco Nordic Center, altitude 9,200 feet. It's a three-lap course with 0.25 miles of uphill to start each circuit with gradual grades the rest of the way, mostly downhill. Both the Devils and Huskies have made the trip over the pass to scout the course.

• Weather: Surprisingly no snow. It's a high of 68 for Frisco, and the temperature should be about a balmy 65 come race time.

• The format: Every team runs nine, as opposed to seven in a traditional regular-season varsity race. The top-five finishers score by the place they finish. (A reminder lower is better in cross-country.) The eighth- and ninth-seeded runners for each squad cannot score for their team, but can push back other runners in the scoring.

The top four teams in each race advance to state as well as individuals in the top 15, if their team does not qualify.

• Defending champions: Battle Mountain boys and girls.

Boys

Eagle Valley is the favorite. Every milesplit.com simulation has the Devils winning. The Devils are the only team in the Class 4A milesplit.com poll from Region 1, tied for 10th.

This is new territory for Eagle Valley, as the school has never won a regional title, but the Devils are embracing it.

"It's a great place to be," Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. "Last year, we were major underdogs, and we surprised, finishing fourth. The hard work and the commitment to the team has paid off. We're really happy to be in this play. The boys are confident and ready to roll."

Aiden Branch and Jack Neifert usually lead the way for the Devils, but, in a regional race, everybody has top-tier runners. A race usually comes down to runners Nos. 3-7.

"All of those guys are running strong," Brandt said. "Carter (Barker), Emerson (Betz), Luke (Morrissey), Bailey (Beckum) and John (Popadopoulos).

The Huskies enter with an interesting quandary. The team has had different No. 1s throughout the season. The is no so-called pecking order. With the Huskies running in a pack, the key is to move the pack up in the field.

"Just because you have one of the closest packs doesn't mean anything, if you're in the middle race," Huskies coach Rob Parish said. "We need to move that forward at regionals."

Girls

While the timing is poor for the flu, Battle Mountain's girls are still pretty darn good. Short of coming down with the bubonic plague, the Huskies will qualify for state as one of the top four teams from Region 1.

While the conservative prognosis is qualify, get rid of the flu and be healthy for state on Saturday, Oct. 28, it's hard for the Huskies to turn off the competitive juices come race day.

Battle Mountain has won six consecutive regionals crowns, and that's still the goal on Thursday.

Region 1 is loaded with powerhouse teams. The Huskies and Golden are ranked in the milesplit.com 4A top 10. And while there's a reason everyone actually races, it's looking like a battle among Evergreen, Green Mountain and Eagle Valley for the final two-team spots.

Region 1 lineups

Battle Mountain

Boys

Jake Allen, Nick Apps, Deagen Fahrney, Jason Macaluso, James Moran, Wyatt Nelson Nico Piliero, David Reilly, Nick Williams

Girls

Megan Bamford, Elizabeth Constien, Kaela Fahrney, Lizzy Harding, Naomi Harding, Grace Johnson, Brogan Murray, Alex Raichart, Gabby Trueblood

Eagle Valley

Boys

Carter Baker, Bailey Beckum, Emerson Betz, Aiden Branch, David Buechel, Matthew Grewe, Luke Morrissey, Jack Neifert, John Papadopoulos.

Girls

Alissa Barry, Carley Beckum, Joslin Blair, Sofie Boggs, Zoe Booth, Avery Doan, Gaby Fuentes, Brennecke Gale, Katy Grewe