Battle Mountain runs at state meet |

Battle Mountain runs at state meet

FORT COLLINS, Colorado ” The Battle Mountain cross country teams don’t rebuild, they reload.

The boys squad lost nine of its top-10 runners from last season. All the Huskies did Saturday was place sixth overall at the 4A CHSAA State Cross County Championships. On the girls side, Battle Mountain was a question to make state. Not only did the Huskies do that, they finished 13th in a loaded 4A field.

Falcon won the boys team title. Thompson Valley claimed first on the girls side.

David Shearon paced the Battle Mountain boys with a time of 16 minutes, and 44 seconds ” good enough for 24th place. Conor Wallace wasn’t far behind, taking 29th in 16:49.

“David really ran a smart race,” Battle Mountain coach Lyle Knudson said. “Conor went out with the leaders. After 200 meters, he was within 10 meters of the leader. He really went for it. He just went out a little too fast. It was a strong effort, but it was one of those things where he tried to do too much.”

Eric Gallagher and Mitch Walker both finished with a time of 17:28 for Battle Mountain. Ryan Vlaar was the Huskies fifth runner taking 88th in a time of 17:41.

“If somebody would have told me when I took this job last spring, that we lost nine of the top-10 (runners) from last year, I would have said we would struggle to qualify for state, let alone finish in the top six,” Knudson said.

Eagle Valley sent two runners to state, and both finished with good times. Mario Gonzalez-Martinez (16:22) took 16th overall.

“Mario just ran with the top group the whole time,” Eagle Valley coach Melinda Brandt said. “He was really consistent. He had a really strong finish. Some guys were coming up on him, and he held them off. It was a very impressive race.”

Joe Trujillo also did well, finishing 57th in 17:23. Trujillo passed 19 runners in the last mile of the race.

“This was Joe’s first time at the state meet,” Brandt said. “He handled it really nicely.”

Battle Mountain girls take 13th

The Huskies’ 13th-place finish on the girls side might be just as impressive as the boys sixth-place finish. Knudson estimated that 13 of the top-20 teams in girls cross country reside in 4A.

Jessica Linder proved to be one of the top senior runners in the state after finishing in 17th place with a time of 19:46.

“Jessica ran a really smart race,” Knudson said. “She paced the race well, and ran aggressively throughout the race. Out of all the 4A runners, she is maybe the third-or-fourth best senior. She is maybe one of the top four-or-five senior runners in the state this year.”

Amelia Ortiz came in 41st place for the Huskies after running a time of 20:18. Lettie Fickling (21:30), Shannon O’Rouke (21:48) and Anouk Guilmineau (22:11) rounded out Battle Mountain’s top runners.

“With the girls, it was a question if they would qualify for state,” Knudson said. “They did that easily, and I thought ran well (today).”

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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