Huskies remember, shine at home meet |

Huskies remember, shine at home meet

BMTI Raymie Higgins 1 DT 5-7-11

EDWARDS – It’s a time-honored routine. Track and field has an order to it. The day is always capped by 1,600-meter relay.

Saturday’s Battle Mountain Invitational deviated from the norm. The day ended with a 3,200-meter run/jog/walk/golf-cart ride open to all, in honor of Eric Spry and Todd Walker, Huskies alumni runners who died during the winter.

“Week in and week out, it’s a reminder,” Battle Mountain junior sprinter Paton Lovett said. “You’ve got to do your best to honor their memory.”

The hosts did quite nicely on this count. Battle Mountain’s girls routed the field with 207 points, far ahead of Rifle (92). The Huskies boys (77) were second behind Rifle (128) and just ahead of Eagle Valley (73.5).

Do keep in mind that both the Huskies and Devils had athletes at the Tiger Invite down in Grand Junction as well. The definitive competition comes next week with the 4A Slope meet, the last chance to qualify for state.

And speaking of which. 1A Vail Christian seems in good shape for its league meet. The Saints girls were 10th out of 17 teams – most of them in higher classifications – while the boys were 13th.

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The pole vault was the center of attention locally, and there were some mild upsets. Eagle Valley’s Austin Woodworth won with a leap of 13 feet, 1 inch. That also broke his own school record (12-9) he set in West Grand on Monday.

And, yes, you get to talk some smack to yourself for beating your own record.

“Oh yeah,” Woodworth joked. “You have to.”

Woodworth edged Battle Mountain’s Zach Guida (12-7), who doesn’t get his motorcycle yet for that jump. Vail Christian’s Mack Cooper was quite busy at the time of the pole vault. He unexpectedly qualified for the finals of the triple jump – his first go at that event. So he was running back and forth between the pole vault, where he finished tied for fifth, and the triple jump, where he was an impressive third.

On the girls’ side of the vault, the Huskies ruled the day going 1-2-3 with Molly Childers, Bailey Garton and LaRose Currie. Vail Christian’s Kylie Alexander had an off day in fourth place with and 8-6. She’s the top-ranked vaulter in all of Class 1A.

Childers led the Huskies with a 9-4, the first time she broke 9 feet.

“Never gotten that before,” Childers said. “It’s amazing. It feels really good.”

Childers and company are gunning for 9-7, which is the school mark. Expect that to go by the wayside soon.

Vail Christian’s Ashlyn Gruber has her mark as well. It’s 60.4 seconds in the 400, her state time of last year. She ran a 60.6 Saturday, so she’s closing in on it. Gruber also dabbled in the 800 for the first time this season.

“It was long. I was ready to stop after the first lap,” she joked. “I just focus on breathing and striding out. When it’s time to kick, give it all you’ve got.”

Over in the throwing area, Eagle Valley’s Nick Bontempo was king of the discus. He blew past his personal record with a throw of 138 feet. Of course, Bontempo’s good with making projectiles go a long way. A golfer, he drives the ball 310-320 yards.

“Discus is a lot of shoulder work and lot of explosion through the hips, which is the same with golf,” Bontempo said. “Disc helps a lot for golf. It gets you stronger. It gets you to use your hips. Golf also helps with disc because I already know the feeling of turning.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or