Huskies XC girls explode out of gate | VailDaily.com

Huskies XC girls explode out of gate

Bob Shearon | Special to the DailyBattle Mountain's Mandy Ortiz races to a win in her race at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede in Colorado Springs. The Huskies ladies won the meet.

COLORADO SPRINGS – So much for under the radar.

Battle Mountain girls cross country is no longer a secret after besting 60 or so 4A teams at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede, better known as “Pre-State,” Friday afternoon in Colorado Springs.

Class 4A was divided into two races, and the Huskies won their race easily with just 52 points. The nearest team in the other 4A competition had 89. And, by the by, Mandy Ortiz won her race with a time of 20 minutes, 27 seconds.

But before everyone starts ordering state-title sweatshirts …

“I still do not think we are the favorites for state,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “The Classical Academy, they’ve won seven-straight titles at 3A and are moving up to 4A and they weren’t there.”

And thus, the gauntlet is thrown down. Parish also happened to mention that Durango, a team the Huskies will see at regionals, was not in Colorado Springs Friday. Nor were there two runners from Delta, runners who just happen to give Battle Mountain problems. And, if one had combined the two 4A races Friday, Ortiz would have finished second.

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It’s all about motivating because the race was not late October, but on Aug. 31.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Parish said. “We had a little chat afterward. We congratulated them for a great performance. We’re excited and eager, but if I sensed they weren’t as hungry as they should be, I would definitely remind them of the end game.”

Ortiz led a superb performance by all the Huskies on hand. She had qualified for U.S. Jr. Mountain Running Team, and could have raced in Italy this weekend in an international competition, but opted to run the state-meet site come Oct. 27.

Val Constien was eighth, and Sydney Gaylord took 10th, coming off an injury from last spring. Bridgett Courtois was 13th and Christina Shearon 21st, followed by Marlene Favella and Sonya Barnett.

On the boys’ side, David Suarez led the way in 16th. The senior appears poised to make a move at 2012.

“He’s on the verge of a breakout season,” Parish said. “He put in more time during the offseason and matured a lot both mentally and physically.”

And while the Battle Mountain ladies will probably grab the headlines, Joe Barrett, Ethan Cotton, Cameron Moore, Julio Garcia, Levi Loria, Victor Guilmineau and Ethan Pence all look like they may make some noise this fall. Pence, a freshman, ran junior varsity, and earned a call-up to the big team next week in Beaver Creek.

Devils sparkle in opener

Eagle Valley cross country is showing some things that the program hasn’t had in past years. That’s what the Devils take away from Friday’s meet.

The boys were seventh with Gregg Salaz, 19:26 (31st), Nathan Maddox, 19:27 (34th), Hunter Burnham 19:33 (38th), Michael Niemeyer 19:37 (42nd) and Carson McQueeney, 20:23 (69th).

Please notice that there are just 11 seconds separating four runners there.

“We were very happy with our team Friday. We have one of the strongest talented groups we’ve had from Day 1,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said of both the boys and the girls. “I like our pack running. Our boys did a nice job. We’re looking to pull in that fifth runner.”

Nikki Cunning 23:36 (32nd), Gabriela Avila 24:15 (48th), Samantha Maddox 24:38 (58th), Megan Muehlethaler 25:19 (72nd) and Maggie Gilman 25:22 (74th) were part of a varsity effort that pleased Brandt. The coach said that this was the first season-opener when Eagle Valley’s girls were in the top two-thirds of the field.

And there might be some new faces competing for sports on Eagle Valley varsity. The JV swept its meet in Delta.

And that gives us a double set of Hoss Awards for this week. Cunning and Niemeyer are the varsity winners, while Brandon Sheard and Mindy Alderete took the awards in Delta.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Battle Mountain Invitational

At Beaver Creek on Saturday

Boys varsity at 10 a.m.

Girls varsity at 10:30 a.m.

Eric Spry Memorial race, a 5K open to all, 1 p.m.