Battle Moutain XC looks good on home turf
Huskies improve in second meet of season
Welcome to “Battle Mountain Cross-Country: The Next Generation.”
Cue to the Huskies in a ship, flying through space with “Star Trek” music.
The 4A Huskies showed that they’re in fine shape with a new cast at their home meet in Minturn, cleverly named the Battle Mountain Invitational, with the girls taking second behind 5A superpower Mountain Vista and boys finishing fourth behind 5A schools Mountain Vista and Monarch and burgeoning rival Summit County.
“It felt pretty good today,” said Battle Mountain/Vail Mountain junior Elliot Pribramsky, who finished second. “It was really fun to go out there and compete with Mountain Vista.”
In a program with a serious track record of success, there’s pressure for the next wave of athletes to fill the hyperbolic shoes of its predecessors.
Battle Mountain girls cross-country should have high standards, but the Huskies aren’t robots, pieces seamlessly inserted in spots. The reality is that Grace Johnson, who didn’t race this week, and Pribramsky are not the Harding sisters, Naomi and Lizzy, who led last year’s team.
Individual Huskies like Pribramsky, Emma Reeder, Hayley Brewster and on down the lineup have to realize that they are talented in their own right. That process is happening and the team looked good on Saturday
“That’s a fantastic sight, seeing all of our top five racing with Mountain Vista,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “All five ran much better than they did at pre-state. It’s a different mindset to know that it’s on you and that the cavalry isn’t coming to the rescue.”
Just remember that the now-hallowed Hardings were once filling the shoes of the Constien sisters, who were filling the shoes of the Ortiz sisters and this can go on and on back to Erika Ghent in 2005.
And more talent appears to be in the pipeline. Battle Mountain has a rule that freshmen, no matter how talented, do not race varsity during the first two races of the season.
Freshman Miliana Almonte finished second in the JV race. Not that anyone was comparing times, but she would have been 12th hypothetically in the varsity girls’ race. Parish may be tinkering, hard as that may be to imagine.
Sophomore Sullivan Middaugh was under the weather at pre-state, aka the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede, last week. Feeling better, the kid finished seventh on Saturday.
Of course, when your father is an accomplished endurance racer like Josiah, some assume that Sullivan just rolls out there and succeeds.
“Sully’s a really intelligent racer,” Parish said. “It’s not just talent. He understands the best way to run a race.”
And that would be to take it out conservatively for the first 1.5 miles through the hills of the course in Minturn and then start to pick off the competition.
It did not escape notice that Summit County beat Battle Mountain’s boys on Saturday. Parish, quite frankly, is excited to see the Tigers doing well, knowing that they will push the Huskies.
“They have our attention,” the coach said.
Eagle Valley got a good look at its squads in their first full races of the season. The girls finished 10th and the boys were 11th out of 19 teams.
With Joslin and Samantha Blair having the week off, the Devils got a good look at their depth.
On the boys’ side, Eagle Valley is replacing six of its nine regional runners from last year.
“They are excited for more intensity and competition in their races,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “They took advantage of the opportunity to compete, and that competition will make us better. It’s a changing of the guard.”
Your Hoss Award winners were Sammi Boeke and Charlie Callis. (For the uninitiated, the Hoss is voted on by the Devils after the race for the heroine and hero of the day.)