Huskies boys take fifth in 5A at Harrison
COLORADO SPRINGS ” Battle Mountain boys’ cross country finished fifth in its first meet of the season at Harrison High School.
And that finish for the defending 4A state champions was absolutely superb, considering the Huskies finished fifth in the 5A division of Colorado cross country’s traditional opener. Battle Mountain, ranked No. 1 in 4A, finished behind only Wheat Ridge, Dakota Ridge and Cherry Creek, which make up 5A’s top-three ranked teams, and Regis, another 5A powerhouse.
Ironically, Huskies’ runner Tony Crisofulli had know idea coach Rob Parish entered the boys’ team in the 5A race, instead of the 4A one.
“I didn’t realize we ran the 5A race until I asked one of my teammates,” Crisofulli said. “I’m kind of blown away. Fifth is really good.”
Ninth, where the girls’ team finished in the 4A race, is also really nice, capping an excellent start to a season of high expectations for Huskies cross country.
“It went extremely well,” Parish said. “Our seasoned runners got a chance to see where they stack up, and our younger kids got their feet wet. We had great results all around.”
Jon O’Neill had a breakout race, finishing second for the Huskies and 17th overall with a time of 17 minutes, 40 seconds, easily a career best.
“There’s two guys I can think of who broke out like that their senior year ” Zach Erickson (in track) and Jon O’Neill,” said Parish, who coaches Battle Mountain’s cross country and track teams. “With losing Colt (Nelson to graduation), Jon has stepped up and seems to be filling those shoes well.”
“Jon’s been working hard all summer, training for cross country,” Crisofulli said. “While we were doing track, he was running cross country. He’s put so much effort in. I’m very happy that he was able to pull through as the second runner for the race.”
In another happy development, Jamie Lee Roberts was the varsity alternate for this race last year. Thursday, she finished second for Battle Mountain with a time of 23:19.
“It’s great. I had fun,” Roberts said. “I’m not too surprised. I trained a lot more in the summer and it helped.”
Jonny Stevens, the boys’ team’s ace the last two years, picked up right where he left off in 2006 ” literally. Stevens ran a 16:47 during last fall’s state meet, also at Harrison. Eleven months later, he clocked a 16:39, good for fourth place in the 5A field. He’s now just 7 seconds off Grant Stevenson’s school record, set at Delta, a much-faster course than Harrison.
All of the boys who put up points for Battle Mountain, the top-five runners on the team, beat the lettering time of 18:30.
Jamie Fahrmeyer was 20th in 17:48, with Crisofulli (32nd, 18:08) and Mario Gonzalez (50th, 18:26), right behind. Ryan Walker took 100th ” there were more than 200 runners in each race ” with a 19:57, while Charles Gladitsch was 122nd in 20:18.
The Battle Mountain boys were only 25 points behind second-place Dakota Ridge. What’s more five boys’ JV runners broke 20 minutes, and the ladies’ JV had some very credible results, meaning that there is going to be a lot of healthy competition in practice in the eight weeks ahead.
“It’s going to give them a great boost and it’s a great check of where they are in fitness,” Parish said. “The guys know they can run with the best teams, regardless of class, but they still know what they need to work on.”
The Battle Mountain girls’ team improved on last year’s opener moving from 11th in 2006 in the 4A race to ninth.
Jessica Linder led the way in 25th with a 22:23. Roberts’ 22:23 was considerably more brisk than the 24:15 she ran at this meet last year. Cecilia Garcia went down from 25:03 to 22:23. Alexis Flower (23:25) and Anouk Guilmineau (24:06) made impressive varsity debuts.
Olivia Fauland (26:10) and Lauren Cerra (26:50) wrapped up the Huskies’ starting seven. Battle Mountain’s ninth-place finish is all the better, considering McKenzie Stevens is not yet ready to go because of her hockey commitments. Stevens, a state runner last year, certainly will be in the mix as the season progresses.
Thursday’s race was not only a good early-season test, but a preview of the course for the state meet in late October. And the Huskies discovered that a new hill has been added to the course.
“We were walking the course (before the race) and we went by the first hill and around the loop,” Crisofulli said. “Instead of heading onto the golf course, there was another hill. It’s good to know what we’ll need to do on certain spots on the course. We now have a feel for how to power through that hill.”
Or as Roberts said, “I loved it. We train on hills. We’re from the mountains.”
Off to Delta
Battle Mountain will likely have a light workout today and then head to Delta for another race Saturday. Parish will not have his runners go as hard Saturday because it’s the second race in three days for the Huskies.
With Delta the site of the regional meet, the race will likely be more of an inspection for the Huskies.
“We’re going to treat Delta as a hard workout and just get accustomed to the course,” Parish said. “The goal for Saturday is simple ” get the kids some familiarity with the regional course.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.