Battle Mountain three-peats in 3,200 relay |

Battle Mountain three-peats in 3,200 relay

Huskies bring home the gold again

From left, Battle Mountain's Naomi Harding, Elliot Pribramsky, Grace Johnson, and Lizzy Harding celebrate state title No. 3 in the 3,200-meter relay. There will be no chance to defend the title after CHSAA called off the spring-sports season on Tuesday due to COVID-19.
Daily file photo

Back to back to back.

Battle Mountain’s Elliot Pribramsky, Lizzy Harding, Grace Johnson, and Naomi Harding teamed up for the school’s third consecutive 4A title in the 3,200-meter relay as the state meet began at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood on Thursday.

The Huskies won in 9 minutes, 22.99 seconds, ahead of Eagle Valley (9:27.80), Palmer Ridge (9:33.06), Steamboat Springs (9:37.36) and Durango (9:38.27) in a bit of statement for Western Slope long-distance running.

Sofia Piliero, Alex Raichart and the Hardings won it 2017. Gabby Trueblood, Raichart and the Hardings did it last spring, and now, Pribramsky, Johnson and, yes, the Hardings are the champs.

By the way, Raichart, now a first year at Colorado School of Mines, was on hand to see the Huskies do it again. Trueblood will be coming down from CU on Saturday to check in with her old team.

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Three in a row in any sport is difficult. Three in a row in high school, where turnover is a constant is rather remarkable.

“I think it’s a testament to the culture of the group,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “Some of it comes from the fall and cross-country. They are hard workers and have high expectations. I think it’s a really fun distance for our runner to run. They come down to 8(00) and they’re coming off their wheels.”

What Parish left unsaid was that Class 4A is also loaded with long-distance runners, making a three-peat all the sweeter. The last leg of Thursday’s 4-by-8 featured Battle Mountain’s Naomi Harding, Eagle Valley’s Joslin Blair and Steamboat’s Maggi Condon, which is pretty much an all-star team of Colorado running.

Pushing the button

Do they or don’t they? That was the question entering state week — do the Hardings, who qualified for the open 3,200 meters, run the open two-mile at state, which was 80 minutes before the 3,200 relay?

It’s the final handoff during the 4A state 3,200-meter relay as Battle Mountain’s Naomi Harding (4) and Eagle Valley’s Joslin Blair (3) get their batons. The Huskies and Devils went 1-2 in the race. (Jim Harding | Special to the Daily)

The Hardings are great two-milers. For that matter, Battle Mountain’s reputation in running is distance — the Huskies qualified four for state in the 3,200, the entire 4-by-8 squad. But to have a realistic shot at winning the 4-by-8, one can’t have all four of your team members running the open 3,200 80 minutes previous.

In consultation with coach Parish, the Hardings dropped out of the open 3,200 to concentrate on the 4-by-8, while Johnson, who finished sixth, and Pribramsky, who took ninth, did go in the open two-mile.

“It enabled us to hit the turbo button twice.” Parish joked.

Familiar faces

Thursday’s 4-by-8 turned into a local duel as Eagle Valley’s Samantha Blair took it out hard, giving the Devils the lead, while Pribramsky’s job was simply to keep the Huskies in hailing distance.

In the last 3,200 relays at state, the Hardings have gone third and fourth, but Parish moved Lizzy to No. 2, putting her against the Devils’ Avery Doan. Lizzy Harding moved the Huskies from the middle of the pack to second behind Doan.

While the Hardings crushed their legs of the relay — Lizzy ran a 2:15 and Naomi a ridiculous 2:13 — Pribramsky and Johnson both did their part.

“It means so much to be able to go back to back to back, especially with my sister,” Lizzy said. “We were so fortunate to Grace and Elliot. They were warriors after the two-mile and ran so well.”

Johnson ran down Eagle Valley’s Jewel Scrivens and Palmer Ridge briefly entered the fray.

“I knew I had to go with Palmer Ridge girl,” Johnson said. “I knew Naomi could handle her role. I just wanted to play my part and get her in a good place.”

It’s quite a local looking podium as Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley take their bows after Thursday’s state 3,200-meter relay in Lakewood. (Jim Harding | Special to the Daily)

Johnson got Battle Mountain the lead with the exchange to Naomi Harding, and, in past years, that’s usually been the clincher. However, the last two years, Eagle Valley’s Joslin Blair wasn’t the primary competition in the final 800.

“I knew I was racing Joslin,” Naomi said. “I had a lot of nerves. I was basically telling myself that I can let up. I was tired in the second lap, but I wanted to do it for my team.”

The reason Naomi was so tired in her second lap was that she took the first 400 in 61 seconds, which is wicked fast.

Huskies in the points

While the 3,200 and the 4-by-8 were the headliners for Battle Mountain track and field, the Huskies were actually doing other things in Lakewood on Saturday.

• Senior Sabrina Sutter was third in the long jump finals, flying 17 feet, 4.75 inches. That is a new school record. Sutter also finished fourth in 200-meter preliminaries with time of 25.67 seconds. This is not being repetitive, but that is also a new school record for Sutter.

• Max Christenberry finished fifth in the discus throw. He went 151 feet, 5 inches.

• The boys 3,200 relay finished eighth. Jake Allen, Davis Krueger, Deagan Farhney, and Nico Piliero logged a time of 8:09.76. This entire crew and alternates return for next season. The sound you just heard was Parish cackling with glee.

• Wyatt Nelson is bronze-medalist in the pole vault. He went 14-6.

• Day 2 at state’s main attractions for the Huskies are the girls’ open 800 and the 1,600-meter relay qualifying.

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