Devils boys conquer Gypsum Creek
GYPSUM – A home meet is a cool thing for a cross country team. Winning it makes it all the better.
Eagle Valley hosted its first cross country meet Saturday at the Gypsum Creek Golf Course, and the Devils boys came away with the top spot, while the ladies were second among five teams.
(As a side note, starting a meet with only a few teams is quite common. The Battle Mountain Invitational, now at Beaver Creek, started with just two teams in 2003 – the Huskies and Rifle at the Willow Creek Par-3.)
“It was really a success,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “There was a real sense of pride that it went off without a hitch.”
Hunter Burnham led the way, taking third with a time of 18 minutes, 11 seconds. Gregg Salaz (sixth, 19:04), Rafael Gurule (seventh, 19:09) and Nathan Maddox (ninth, 19:15) packed the top 10 nicely. Robbie Clark was 11th in 19:30.
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“They had to work hard,” Brandt said. “There was really a short spread with our runners. Our third and fourth runners are getting a lot stronger. I was impressed with our times.”
On the ladies’ side, Aspen went 1-2-3-4 to take the win. Eagle Valley’s Nikki Cunning was fifth in 22:20, followed by Samantha Maddox (seventh, 22:34), Aracely Villalobos (eighth, 22:46), Taylor Claydon (ninth, 23:07) and Kira Quintana (12th, 23:29).
Eagle Valley also had 75 runners out for a citizen’s race.
“The community really came out to support us,” Brandt said. “The volunteers were awesome. The golf course was incredible. It was a team effort to get this going.”
The Hoss Awards went to Stephanie Johnson and Louis Ban Beek.
Eagle Valley is at Glenwood Springs next week.
Ortiz shines at Liberty Bell
Mandy Ortiz finished second at Friday’s Liberty Bell cross country meet.
That is the best finish by a Battle Mountain runner ever at the gathering of some of the best from around the Rockies, and that is saying something, given the Huskies’ history.
Ortiz finished in 18 minutes, 56 seconds.
“It’s pretty wild to see what Mandy’s done,” Huskies coach Ken Long said. “She started running two years ago, and the progression she’s had to this level during her junior year is pretty impressive.”
When one considers that aces like Tony Crisofulli, John O’Neill, Johnny Stevens, Erika Ghent and Amelia Ortiz have run in this event annually, Mandy’s in some nice territory.
The same can be said for the Battle Mountain girls’ team. The Huskies were seventh in their division just behind Moffat County, fifth, and ahead of Glenwood Springs, ninth.
Sydney Gaylord punched in at 20:23 for 21st, followed by Jenai Denardo with a 21:26 for 54th. Bridgett Courtois (21:49) and Sydney Edmonson (22:10) completed the scoring.
“This is the best girls team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Long said. “We’re going to work on tightening the gap between (runners Nos.) 1-5. They can be a threat.”
David Suarez led the boys with a 17:32, followed by Ethan Cotton (18:55), Joseph Barrett (19:01), Irvin Rodriguez (19:50) and Ricardo Arrela (20:05).
Battle Mountain is at Middle Park next week.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.