Battle Mountain Huskies XC scores just 59 points … and finish second | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain Huskies XC scores just 59 points … and finish second

COLORADO SPRINGS — Battle Mountain girls' cross-country did not win the state meet for the third year in a row, and surprisingly, the Earth did not crash into the sun.

Niwot edged the Huskies, 47-59, in Battle Mountain's bid for a three-peat on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Norris-Penrose Events Center down in Colorado Springs.

"They ran out of their minds," Huskies coach Rob Parish said.

The wild irony here is that Battle Mountain's ladies didn't have a bad day. Fifty-nine points usually wins a state meet handily. Last year's Huskies won state going away with 59 points, light years ahead of Palmer Ridge (157).

Fifty-nine points was the lowest point total in the history of the 4A state meet — until Saturday. Niwot set the new record with 47.

In 2016, Battle Mountain won with 98 points and finished second with 77 in 2015 (Air Academy, 60). Go figure.

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Battle Mountain's seniors at state — Naomi Harding, Lizzy Harding, Brogan Murray and Celia Badger — leave the CHSAA portion of the season having finished second, first, first and second during their four Colorado fall seasons. That would be a moderately above average legacy.

"This run has been unprecedented," Parish said. "Sometimes, everyone involved with and around the program are accustomed to a level of success so much that they forget how much work it takes to get there. We just have to use the proper perspective. We had a historic day in one of the toughest divisions in the state. Long-distance running in Colorado is like Texas football."

And, perhaps, Niwot and Battle Mountain will see each other again at Nike Cross Regionals down in Arizona in a few weeks.

All-state, anyone?

Eagle Valley's girls finished in eighth, and that makes them the best cross-country team in the history of the school.

The Devils' Big Three — Joslin Blair, Samantha Blair and Avery Doan — finished in the top 10. A top 10 finish at state earns the runner all-state honors and, as such, half of the 4A all-state team will be Eagle County runners. The Huskies' Naomi Harding was third overall behind Niwot's 1-2 punch of Layla Roebke and Taylor James, while Grace Johnson was eighth (seventh among racers with full teams in the meet).

Joslin Blair finished sixth (fifth for team-scoring purposes), perhaps a little bit of a disappointment for her, as she was shooting for the top three. This would be a good time to note that local running fans are used to seeing the junior seemingly achieve at will. It just isn't as easy as she usually makes it look.

"You have to be at your best at state," Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. "That's the fun part of our sport and the tough part of it, too."

Samantha Blair finished the season in ninth (eighth in team points), and she's a freshman. (The sound you just heard was Brandt and Devils track and field coach Jeff Shroll cackling with glee.)

And Doan finished her Colorado cross-country career by achieving her goal of a 10th-place finish (ninth for team purposes) with a powerful kick.

"Avery's influence on this program is unmatched," Brandt said. "Her encouragement in getting everyone involved with the offseason program made this happen. She was in 11th after two-and-a-half miles and she went and got it."

Emotional day

Everything was in place for Battle Mountain's ladies. They ran their race. Sophomore Elliott Pribramsky was 17th. The Huskies' fifth, Emma Reeder, took 20th.

That, in normal years, should have done it.

The Huskies were simply bested by a tremendous Niwot team. Only the 4A Cougars and 5A Mountain Vista, ranked No. 2 in the country, were faster than Battle Mountain among the 100 full teams, regardless of classification, assembled down in the Springs.

But with the effort put into the task of three-peating, not to mention CHSAA cross-country careers coming to an end, there was an emotional toll.

"There is such a mix of emotional highs and lows," Parish said. "They wanted to go for the win. They went for it passionately. To have those great races is a high, but coming in second, in spite of all that, is tough. It was a challenge to experience."

Down goes Central

Meanwhile, Battle Mountain's boys relished their return to the state stage after a year's absence by finishing seventh. More importantly, the Huskies finished 27 points ahead of Grand Junction Central, earning some revenge from regionals.

Eagle Valley's boys took 14th on Saturday, the second-best finish by the gents at the state meet.

CHSAA Class 4A state meet

Individual results for team placing

Girls

Team results

1. Niwot 47; 2. Battle Mountain 59; 3. Air Academy 131; 4. Centaurus 177; 5. Cheyenne Mountain 178 … 8. Eagle Valley, 226.

Individual results

3. Naomi Harding, Battle Mountain, 18:41

5. Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley, 18:54

7. Grace Johnson, Battle Mountain, 18:57

8. Samantha Blair, Eagle Valley, 18:58

9. Avery Doan, Eagle Valley, 19:03

12. Lizzy Harding, Battle Mountain, 19:10

17. Elliot Pribramsky, Battle Mountain, 19:26

20. Emma Reeder, Battle Mountain, 19:31

90. Tatum Coe, Eagle Valley, 21:47

114. Lucy McCann, Eagle Valley, 22:42

Boys

Team results

1. Centaurus 63; 2. Palmer Ridge, 99; 3. Air Academy, 106; 4. Durango 111; 5. Niwot, 136 … 7. Battle Mountain 235; 14. Eagle Valley 324.

Individual results

35. Nico Piliero, Battle Mountain, 17:18

39. David Reilly, Battle Mountain, 17:23

47. Deagan Fahrney, Battle Mountain, 17:29

49. Carter Baker, Eagle Valley, 17:33

52. John Papadopoulos, Eagle Valley, 17:40

53. Jason Macaluso, Battle Mountain, 17:41

60. Bailey Beckum, Eagle Valley, 17:48

61. Sullivan Middaugh, Battle Mountain, 17:48 (tenths)

80. Matthew Grewe, Eagle Valley, 18:10

83. Gage Nielsen, Eagle Valley, 18:13