Girls surprise in second; boys win for third straight year
DELTA Orange has been the color of choice at the Vail Mountain School for the postseason. Gold is very much in at Battle Mountain.The Huskies boys cross country team has worn gold tops for the postseason the last few years and the ladies joined them with a new set of uniforms for Saturdays regional meet in Delta.Its a fun fashion statement, but the talent in those uniforms shone through against the best in 4A Slope.The girls pulled the shocker finishing second with 68 points, defeating defending region champion, Glenwood Springs (73), and Moffat County (74) to clinch a spot at state. All the boys did was finish 1-2-3-4-6 for a mere 16 points, routing Moffat (99), for their third consecutive regional title in their quest for back-to-back state crowns. Jonny Stevens captured the individual regional championship, finishing in 15 minutes, 58 seconds, the first Battle Mountain runner to break 16 minutes.Next stop, Harrison High School and the state meet Saturday.
The Battle Mountain girls entered regionals wondering if they would be able grab a spot as a team. The Huskies were without Heidi Sorenson who was unable to run and McKenzie Stevens who was away on a AAA hockey trip in Minnesota.Then there was the competition. Forty percent of the full teams at regionals make state. Last year, there were only eight squads, so the region only had three spots.Given that Summit, which won with 30 points, Glenwood and Moffat stood in the way, the math was not looking good. Huskies coach Rob Parish had conveniently forgotten to tell his team that he knew earlier this week that there would be nine full teams and four state berths on the line, so third and beating Moffat County was the goal.
As coaches and athletes, we were very much focused on Moffat, Parish said. It wasnt until there was a mile to go I noticed, Hey were pretty even with those red jerseys (Glenwood).As is typical, Parish started darting through the bushes and trees of the course to spread the word, and the Huskies stated to reel in the Demons as well.Jessica Linder ended up fifth with a 19:44. Cecila Garcia was 12th in 20:39. Anouk Guimineaux, a sophomore, was a pleasantly huge surprise in 14th (20:51).Guimineaux had a breakout race at the Centerra Classic two weeks ago, so Parish knew this was a possibility.She had been somewhere between (No.) 7 and 10 for girls, he said. We needed her to step up with McKenzie out. Shes just a sophomore. In any sport, you want your athletes to step up when the time comes.
Jamie Lee Roberts took 17th (20:56), Amelia Ortiz 20th (21:14) and Kenzie Grant 25th in 21:28. Olivia Fauland, filling in for Sorenson, did her part. Finishing in 32nd at 22:20, she clipped runners at the end, helping the Huskies move up.The net result was a safe and secure second place for a team hoping to squeak into state.Its amazing, especially in second place, Garcia said. We were not expecting that. When we found out, we were in shock because we beat the regional champs from last year.Parish said that Saturdays race was on par with some of the best accomplishments the girls have had in the last four years, a big statement since the ladies won the state title in 2005.What the girls did today was nothing short of amazing, he said. They were the most prepared mentally and physically. They just ran their hearts out. They really believed in themselves. They had some adversity to overcome during the week. It just shows the resiliency of this team.Thanks for comingIn the second race of the season, the Battle Mountain boys went 1-2-3-4-6 at Delta, but doing it again at the regional meet is not meant to happen.It did.The boys put on a command performance.Coach (Kelli) Witter and I were talking about how difficult it was to remember that this was the same regional meet where we were rooting for Rob Finlay to get into state five years ago, Parish said. This is the same meet where Grant (Stevenson) took third and it was such a fantastic accomplishment. To roll through missing a perfect score was incredible.The Huskies had five in the top six, six in the top eight and the entire varsity seven in the top 11.Steven became the first Husky to go below 16 minutes with a 15:58, breaking his own school record, and winning a regional title after finishing third and fourth at this meet the last two years. Its nice, Stevens said. We were there freshman year when it started getting better. We are the kind of the last link. As freshmen, it was cool to see Cory (Wilson), Zach (Erickson), Irepan (Sanchez), Andy (Given) and Grant and seeing how meaningful getting second was. To be able to come through, we couldnt have asked for a better race.Stevens and John ONeill went together for the second half of the race. ONeill took second in 16:06, which would have also broken Stevens old mark.I could see Jonny the whole time, ONeill said. When we walked the course the night before, we had different points during the course where we were going to put in a surge. Everytime I put in a surge, it was Oh, Im going to catch Jonny. Then I realized that Jonny was surging at the same time as me.Jamie Fahrmayer clocked in at 16:27, followed by Tony Crisofulli at 16:29. Four Huskies runners would have broken the school record as it stood at the beginning of the year (16:32).Mario Gonzalez was sixth in 16:36. Conor Wallace (eighth, 17:06) and Andrew Hill (11th, 17:25) didnt score for Battle Mountain, but would have for any other team at Delta.Everybody ran out of the minds today, ONeill said.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.