Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley XC start fast
Johnson wins at pre-state
- Air Academy, 67; 2. Battle Mountain, 89; 3. Thompson Valley, 114; 4. Cheyenne Mountain 116; 5. Discovery Canyon 126.
- Grace Johnson, Battle Mountain, 18:52
- Cheyenne Mountain 57; 2. Air Academy 70; 3. Battle Mountain 94; 4. Summit County 113; 5. Lewis-Palmer 163.
Don’t order trophies or sweatshirts yet.
It’s just one meet, but Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley cross-country looked good at the traditional season opener, the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede, on Friday down in Colorado Springs.
Battle Mountain’s Grace Johnson won the 4A girls varsity meet, followed by Eagle Valley’s Joslin Blair. While the Devils had a skeleton crew and did not post team scores, the Huskies ladies finished second behind Air Academy and in front of Thompson Valley, while the Battle Mountain boys were third, one of their best showings at this meet during the last few years.
Yes, that subhead was just waiting to happen.
Johnson is not now locked into winning a race on the state site in October, but it’s a pretty nice experience to have under one’s belt.
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Bigger picture, Johnson and Elliot Pribramsky (ninth) and Emma Reeder (17th) seemed ready for the move from supporting roles to prime-time runners. As always, pump the breaks because it’s August. For example, Niwot, the defending state champs were at a different race, the Vista Nation XC 2-Mile Invitational on Saturday.
“Over the course of the summer, this group trained hard,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “They’ve been doing trail runs, but you never know how that’s going to transfer to 5K race speed under pressure.”
The early answer is well. Parish was pleased to see Hayley Brewster and Samantha Lindall step up in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. And, as always, there might be some more competition for the varsity seven coming from the JV ranks.
The coach always likes himself some competition within the team. However, the pecking order works out from week to week, this is a much younger squad for Battle Mountain than in years past.
The Huskies boys had their best finish at the race also known as pre-state, in four years, by Parish’s estimation. The scoring five was separated by all of 32 seconds with all five under 18 minutes.
Deagen Fahrney and Ari Dennis came up big for the Huskies on Friday, bookending the points.
Blairs on the move
Eagle Valley’s Samantha Blair didn’t race Friday, but she had a darn good excuse. The sophomore was in Italy on Saturday finishing fifth in the World Mountain Running Championships, helping Team USA finish third.
Joslin Blair, meanwhile, took second down in the Springs, a terrific result given her recent training regimen.
“Joslin ran a tough race after a heavy load of practice,” Devils coach Melinda Blair said. “She has a tremendous practice schedule, but she still wanted to compete.”
For the uninitiated, both local squads often don’t gear up for some regular-season races, opting to build miles in practice. Both Blairs should be in the mix come October.
Jordan Neifert made a nice impression on Friday as a returning regional runner for the Devils. On the boys’ side, Gage Nielsen has clearly worked on his jets during the summer as well.
Battle Mountain has its home meet in Minturn on Saturday and that’s the next stop for both schools.