Huskies ahead of last year’s pace |

Huskies ahead of last year’s pace

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyBattle Mountain's John O'Neil runs a leg of the 3,200-meter relay, which the Huskies easily won. O'Neil also ran in the open 3,200, placing fourth.

GRAND JUNCTION ” In their first full meet together as a team, the Battle Mountain track and field team looked a bit rusty Saturday at the Mickey Dunn Invitational ” by coach Rob Parish’s standards.

“We look like a team that’s been training at 8,000 feet in the middle of winter,” Parish said. “All around, it was a good day. It gave us a sense of where we are at and what we need to work on.”

The annual deoxidizing process, however, is a bit ahead of schedule, while newcomers are sprinting right into things.

“There were some individuals we expected to do well who did very well and some new kids who vastly exceeded expectations,” Parish said.

In a field of 5A, 4A and 3A competition, the 4A Huskies finished in the middle of the pack for the boys and girls.

On the girls side, Anouk Guillermo had an outstanding 3,200-meter race, taking second in 12 minutes, 36 seconds.

“That was her personal best by 50 seconds,” Parish said. “You don’t see that kind of improvement from athletes. That was third all-time for Battle Mountain (girls).”

Cecilia Garcia was fifth at 12:42 ” her personal best by 7 seconds.

The 3,200-meter relay team of Jamie Lee Roberts, Amelia Ortiz, Kenzie Grant and Kenia Olivas took third at 10:45.

“That team went to state last year, and only Jamie was on that team, so that’s great,” Parish said.

Olivas, Roberts, Olivia Fauland and Erin Barker teamed up for the 1,600 relay and placed sixth at 4:40. Battle Mountain’s 400 relay team of Maddie Trtanj, Jana Horn, Ana Padget and Genna Mendoza took seventh while in the 800 relay, Trtanj, Horn, Padget and Fauland took eighth.

Padget, in her first meet, sprung 14 feet, 9 inches in the long jump.

“She was tearing it up all over the place,” Parish said.

John O’Neil ” a rookie to the track and field scene, but a college-bound cross country runner ” prequalified for the 3,200 in his first race along with his seasoned track and field teammate Jonny Stevens.

O’Neil was fourth at 9:47 while Stevens was third at 9:42.

“It’s unheard of to go under 10 minutes for your first 2-mile ever,” Parish said. “Ten minutes is time college coaches look at. And both of those guys weren’t running fresh ” they’d come off the 3,200 relay.”

Denver North’s Joe Manilafasha won the 3,200 in 9:39.19, just ahead of Grand Junction’s Martin Medina (9:39.79).

“The guy who won was one of the top 20 runners in the country in the fall,” Parish said. “Jonny’s time was 10 seconds faster than last year ” not bad for a (hockey defenseman).”

Tony Crisofulli and Conor Wallace had great 1,600 races, placing fifth (4:49.71) and eighth (4:52.59), respectively.

“They also ran great legs on the 3,200 relay before they got to the mile,” Parish said. “The distance fields were super strong.”

So just what happened in the 3,200 relay? The Huskies team of Wallace, O’Neil, Stevens and Crisofulli won in 8:20.71, 16 seconds ahead of second-place Glenwood Springs.

“Those guys did a fantastic job,” Parish said. “They are such intelligent runners.”

In the sprints, Battle Mountain saw Ascher Robbins take third in the 200 at 24.17, just 0.10 off the winning mark. Robbins tied for seventh in the 100 at 11.82, while teammate Aaron Wilcox stepped up to take fifth at 11.71, only 0.14 off the winning mark.

“I think (Ascher) was a little disappointed with his 100 and came back in the 200 and did great,” Parish said. “If we want our team to do well, we’re counting on Aaron and Ascher to run very strong for us.”

Battle Mountain’s 400 relay team of Robbins, Victor Rios, Romaine Wolford and Wilcox took fifth at 45.64; Grand Junction won at 44.45. The same team, with Josh Kundolf replacing Wolford, was eighth in the 800 relay.

The Huskies aren’t in action again until the Eagle Valley Invitational April 5.

“We’ve got a great baseline to know where to go from here on the guys side,” Parish said. “Our work is cut out for us and we know where we need to be and where we need to pick up points.”

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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