Crisofulli sets Huskies’ mile mark |

Crisofulli sets Huskies’ mile mark

SPT BM invitational file3 KA 04-08-08

ARCADIA, Calif. ” This record doesn’t belong to a Jonny or a John.

Battle Mountain runners Jonny Stevens and John O’Neill spent most of the fall trading the school’s cross-country record. And until Saturday, Stevens owned or shared in all of Battle Mountain’s track distance records.

Now it’s time to make way for Tony Crisofulli.

Crisofulli knocked Stevens off the record board by running the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes, 29.1 seconds at the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational, a gathering of some of the best athletes in the nation.

“I’m really excited,” said Crisofulli, who’s been a part of the Huskies’ two state titles in cross country. “I was really focused on what I wanted to accomplish. I really felt this race would be my chance to break a record.”

As was the case with the cross-country record going back and forth between Stevens and O’Neill, it’s hard to say how long Crisofulli record may last. That’s a good thing for the team as all three runners have gone below 4:35, the previous record held by Chris Isbell, in the mile.

Yet for now, it’s Crisofulli’s to enjoy.

“They’ve been training as a group and are so strong and so experienced at this point, so congratulations to Tony,” Huskies track coach Rob Parish said. “John and Jonny were lobbing the cross-country record back and forth. It’s nice for Tony to get in the mix. The mile is great event for him. He has natural speed and he’s really worked on his endurance.”

Moving on up

This is the second year Battle Mountain’s elite distance runners have headed to the Arcadia Invitational. For the Huskies, who excel in the 3,200 relay as well as the open mile and two-mile, this is a chance to get a higher level of competition before the state meet arrives in May.

“The meet is set up for everyone to run fast,” Parish said. “All the good factors are there, low altitude and a fast field. It’s a chance for our kids to see how they stack up nationally and to see the very best in the country.”

There’s another nice benefit to running in California.

“I’m loving the warm weather,” Crisofulli said. “There’s not a cloud in the sky. It’s 80-something degrees. It’s absolutely perfect.”

The 3,200 team of Crisofulli, O’Neill, Stevens and Todd Walker seemed to enjoy the sunny climes Friday night, running an 8:08, finishing 10th in top-level race of the meet. Last year, the Huskies were 17th in 8:11.

This is the earliest the 3,200 team, which took second at state last year, has broken 8:10. Putting the 8:08 in perspective, the Huskies won regionals, held in May, last year with an 8:09.

Walker, though dealing with a bad hip, sped to a 2:07 in the 800 Saturday. O’Neill and Stevens were scheduled to go in the open 3,200 Saturday night. Stevens set the school record in the two-mile last year in Arcadia with a 9:35.

Huskies shine in Palisade

PALISADE ” Battle Mountain track and field is nothing if not deep and versatile.

While the big guns were in Arcadia, the “rest” of the team strutted its stuff at Palisade.

The boys finished sixth with 47.5 points, only 21.5 points behind the top finisher in their region, Rifle. Given that some automatic points were in Cailfornia, Battle Mountain is going to be a power come the regional meet.

One of Battle Mountain’s so-called “other” distance runners Conner Wallace won the 3,200 in 10:19.92, 3 seconds ahead of Paonia’s Gelgadillo.

“He ran it like a veteran,” Huskies coach Laurie Kleisinger said. “He knew exactly what he wanted to do. He lets some of the other runners go out too fast and they came back to him. (Gelgadillo) passed him and he just sat behind him. With 100 meters left, he just kicked in the after-burners.”

Speaking of fast, Jamie Lee Roberts and McKenzie Stevens were quick in all sorts of ways. The two played in Battle Mountain soccer’s 8-0 win against Delta in Edwards and still got down to Palisade later in the day.

And all Roberts did was finish third in the 800 with a time of 2:27.20, the second fastest time recorded by a Battle Mountain lady in school history behind Holly Stanish.

“It was pretty funny. She and McKenzie were touch-and-go the whole way,” Kleisinger said. “They were calling to see if (the meet) was running late or ahead of schedule. They got into the parking lot five minutes before the gun. Jamie Lee’s warmup was running from the parking lot to the track.”

Sprinters Aaron Wilcox and Ascher Robbins were third and ninth, respectively, in the 100. Robbins and Wilcox went 3-4 in the 200. David Shearon was sixth in the 3,200. Jackson Higgins in only his second set of hurdles races, ended up sixth in the 110 and seventh in the 300. The 400 relay of Robbins, Cody Kleisinger, Higgins and Wilcox grabbed silver with a 45.28. Kodi Wyatt soared to fourth in the high jump.

Kenzie Grant (1,600) and Cecilia Garcia (3,200) both took fourth. The 3,200 team of Grant, Kenia Olivas, Amelia Ortiz and Heidi Sorenson finished second.

Battle Mountain track and field heads to Rifle Friday for another Western Slope meet.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or

Support Local Journalism