Harriers scale the heights in Leadville | VailDaily.com

Harriers scale the heights in Leadville

LEADVILLE, Colorado ” Cross country runners who train in Eagle County are usually in a good shape. If you can run up here, odds are your lungs, not to mention the rest of your body, are in good shape.

And the, there’s the annual trip to Leadville, which seems to blow away that concept all together. Running at 10,000 feet and on one of the more hilly trails of the season, times understandably rise.

The good news for Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley cross country Saturday was that the order of finish didn’t go up with those times.

The Battle Mountain boys took third in Leadville with the ladies in fifth, while Mario Gonzalez-Martinez of Eagle Valley had the top local finish.

Young guns

Battle Mountain’s schedule has the team focused on Friday’s Liberty Bell meet down on the Front Range, so that meant that Conor Wallace, Charles Gladistch, David Shearon, Jessica Linder and Amelia Ortiz all went to Leadville to train, but not to race.

Thus, some of the younger runners got varsity spots and proved quite worthy of the title.

The Saints of the team ” by which we mean those from Vail Christian, though we’re sure they’re good guys ” led the way. Ian Hamina was 12th in 19 minutes, 33 seconds, followed by Eric Gallagher (19th, 19:53). Mitch Walker was right behind in 21st (19:59). The guy with one of the best names for a harrier ever, Eric Spry came home in 20:25 (27th). Vail Christian’s Ryan Vlaar rounded out the scoring in 33rd (20:41).

For the girls, Shannon O’Rourke captured top honors in 26th (25:11). Lettie Fickling and Anouk Guilmineau went 29th and 30th, respectively (25:47 and 26:02). Look for those times to go down as Guilmineau fell and Fickling stopped to make sure her teammate was OK.

Maddie Stevens kept the family tradition going in 32nd (26:33) and Samatha Engle finished in 31:25 (43rd).

“I’m really pleased with their good effort,” Huskies coach Lyle Knudson said. “We compared their times with last year, and a lot of them ran more than three minutes faster.”

Devils put two in top 10

While he’s wearing a new uniform, Mario Gonzalez-Martinez knows what to expect from Leadville, having run the course with Battle Mountain the last two years.

Now with the Devils, he scorched the trail in 18:54 for fourth place. Joe Trujillo joined in 10th place with a 19:23. As was the case with the Huskies, Eagle Valley didn’t have its full crew in Lake County with Andrew Hill out, but the rest of the season looks promising, throwing him into the mix.

Uvaldo Trujillo flew to 30th (20:32) with Wade Fowler in 46th (21:32) and Cody Frey in 49th (22:06).

On the girls’ side, Kelly Cassidy, just a freshman, topped the team, taking 22nd in 24:15. Blanca Gonzalez-Martinez, only a sophomore, was 35th (28:04). Logan Kinser (36th, 28:06), Shanna Zoch (37th, 28:14) and Megan McQueeney (39th, 28:28) rounded out the scoring.

“I think the guys are in great shape,” Devils assistant coach Jeff Shroll said. “Joe and Mario both ran smart races. So did Kelly. She’s just tough. She’s got good promise.”

Eagle Valley is at Grand Junction Saturday.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

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