Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley XC run well vs. Niwot
Harriers shine at Maloit Park
The defending state champions were rude guests at the Battle Mountain Invitational, brushing aside the hosts as well as Eagle Valley cross-country on Saturday at Minturn’s Maloit Park. The Cougars swept the team titles and the individual crowns.
Nonetheless, Saturday was good opportunity for the Huskies and Devils to see where they need to go, particularly during a season — when because of COVID-19 — the best in the state aren’t going to cross paths often.
“They are good,” Parish said of Niwot. “We were so excited to have Niwot at our home race. They’re a great measuring stick. They’re ranked No. 3 in the country. They finished seventh last year. We mixed it up with them.”
Niwot’s boys topped the Huskies, 21-56, with the Cougars’ Zane Bergen (16 minutes, 52 seconds) edging past the Huskies’ Sullivan Middaugh (17:01). For the ladies, the Cougars slipped past Battle Mountain, 28-48.
Niwot’s Mia Prok put on a show, winning in 19:15, ahead of Eagle Valley’s Samantha Blair (19:39). This would probably be a good time to remember that Blair finished third at Nike Cross Regionals, which encompass the states of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, last year. The Huskies and Devils aren’t chopped liver as opposition. Niwot is that strong.
The Hoss is boss
Blair and Prok will likely meet again at state in October. Blair’s 19:39 is a really fast time on a course that does not yield them easily or plentifully.
“You get to run against good teams, and you’re hungry for more,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said.
While it’s an established concept that the Blair family knows how to run, the Devils are seeing racers emerge into roles on the team’s pecking order.
To that end, meet Lucy McCann, who was Eagle Valley’s second runner. She normally runs with teammate Jordan Neifert, but because of COVID-19 distancing rules, McCann ran in the second wave of the race without her usual partner.
Despite that discomfort — runners are characters of routine — McCann had a big day, and won the team’s Hoss Award.
For those not familiar with Eagle Valley running culture, the team votes for the Hoss after each race. It’s not necessarily for the “best,” but for the team’s most inspirational performer.
Winning it is a milestone, so kudos as well to Ferguson St. John, who earned it among the boys.
Not surprisingly, Gage Nielsen led the Eagle Valley boys with a ninth-place finish. But a team needs five to score and St. John in the top 20 is an important step in that direction.
That sort of effort helped the Devils top Douglas County and Valor Christian on Saturday.
For Battle Mountain, one of the big missions on Saturday was for its top runners to go out hard and stay with the front pack, especially with Niwot in the field.
This is a tough ask at only the second race of the season. If one goes out hard, is there enough left in the tank for the entire 3.1-mile race?
Middaugh and Elliot Pribramsky (third, 20:06) did that on Saturday.
“The courage that Sully and Elliot had to go out hard and hang with national elite runners was pretty impressive,” Parish said.
The Huskies ladies were sharp, putting five in the top 17. In most races that don’t include Niwot, that’s a win.
As the Huskies continue to mine their ranks for prospects, it’s worth noting that first-year Lindsey Whitton finished 17th and scored for Battle Mountain.
Speaking of freshmen, Porter Middaugh took 13th in his varsity debut. And even further down the line, Presley Smith and Jorge Sinoloa won the JV races on Friday afternoon.
Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain will be going in opposite directions next week. The Devils will be at Connected Lakes in Grand Junction. That is the site of the old Ana Banana Invitational, so Saturday’s race should be a good opportunity for speed for the Devils.
Meanwhile, the Huskies will be at the Norris-Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs for the COVID-19 edition of pre-state. Given that a maximum of 50 racers can run in an event, the Huskies do not know whom they will be seeing.
Battle Mountain Invitational
- Niwot 21; 2. Battle Mountain 56; 3. Summit 103; 4. Eagle Valley 107; 5. Douglas County 113; 6. Valor Christian 158; 7. Faith Christian 171
2. Sullivan Middaugh, BM, 17:01
9. Gage Nielsen, EV, 17:51
12. Ari Dennis, BM, 18:00
13. Porter Middaugh, BM, 18:07
14. William Brunner, BM, 18:21
15. Kaden Williams, BM, 18:22
19. Trey Martin, BM, 18:53
20. Ferguson St. John, EV, 18:58
21. Lukas Bergsten, EV, 19:09
23. Oscar Jose, BM, 19:22
27. Jake Drever, EV, 19:49
28. Ethan Fitzcharles, BM, 19:50
31. Zachary Yoder, EV, 19:54
38. Charlie Callis, EV, 20:49
47. Cade Mather, EV, 21:52
- Niwot 28; 2. Battle Mountain 48; 3. Faith Christian 97; 4. Douglas County 99; 5. Valor Christian 109; 6. Eagle Valley 120; 7. Summit 191
2. Samantha Blair, EV, 19:39
3. Elliot Pribramsky, BM, 20:06
7. Milaina Almonte, BM, 21:03
9. Haley Brewster, BM, 21:15
12. Lily Wheelan, BM, 21:51
17. Lindsey Whitton, BM, 22:18
21. Lucy McCann, EV, 22:53
25. Jordan Neifert, EV, 23:09
26. Lindsey Kiehl, BM, 23:14
28. Emma Reeder, BM, 23:33
35. Stacia Baker, EV, 24:30
37. Gabby Fuentes, EV 24:40
38. Ellie Shroll, EV, 24:41
39. Kate Dekanich, BM, 24:49
47. Hayley Bates, EV, 26:28
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.