Huskies, Devils seem to be on crash course
Cheyenne Mountain Stampede
1. Battle Mountain 70; 2. Air Academy, 87; 3. Cheyenne Mountain 98; 4. Thompson Valley 123; 5. Discovery Canyon 143; 6. Eagle Valley 151.
1. Joslin Blair, EV, 18:57.10
2. Samantha Blair, EV, 18:59.10
8. Avery Doan, EV, 19:42.90
9. Naomi Harding, BM, 19:45.10
10. Lizzy Harding, BM, 19:55.00
11. Grace Johnson, BM, 19:57.10
16, Brogan Murray, BM, 20:19.90
24. Emma Reeder, BM, 20:51.40
72. Tatum Coe, EV, 23:35.70
87. Jordan Neifert, EV, 24:31.20
1. Durango 56; 2. Air Academy 67; 3. Cheyenne Mountain 117; 4. Coronado 172; 5. Battle Mountain 185 … 8. Eagle Valley 230.
23,. Deagan Fahrney, BM, 17:34.50
25. Nico Piliero, BM, 17:35.30
33. Andrew Rogers, BM, 17:47.50
38. Carter Baker, EV, 17:51.90
42. Luke Morrissey, EV, 17:57.90
45. Gage Nielsen, EV, 18:07.20
50. Bailey Beckum, EV, 18:11.30
54. David Reilly, BM, 18:22.10
55. Jake Allen, BM, 18:22.80
61. Matthew Grewe, EV, 18:28.80
COLORADO SPRINGS — It is only August. Just a reminder, it is only August.
Cross-country teams want to be at their best come late October.
But, dot, dot, dot, as Mel Brooks would say …
This has the makings of one whopper of a season if the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede, aka the pre-state meet, on Friday, Aug. 24, in Colorado Springs was any indication.
Eagle Valley’s Joslin Blair and Samantha Blair went 1-2. Yes, the Force is strong in that family. That’s not too bad of a debut for a freshman in Samantha, and the grizzled vet, Joslin, a junior, is still pretty good.
“She’s been running with her big sister all summer,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “She was excited to get to high school to show what she could do. It’s not all natural gifting. She’s put in the miles.”
As for the two-time defending state champion Battle Mountain? All the Huskies did was win the meet. Battle Mountain posted just 70 points, ahead of Air Academy (87) and Cheyenne Mountain (98).
The fun thing to note here was the Huskies weren’t necessarily racing to win this race. Battle Mountain was treating pre-state as a tempo run, which in cross-country speak is that the Huskies ran as a pack for the first 2 miles of the 3.1-mile circuit before going off on their own.
In a testament to sister power as the theme of the day, Battle Mountain’s Naomi and Lizzy Harding finished ninth and 10th, followed by Grace Johnson in 11th. Brogan Murray was 16th and Emma Reeder was 24th.
“The big thing we have to work on all season is developing our Nos. 4 and 5 runners,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “Brogan has run as the highest level, but has’t been a scorer for us. It was fun to see how Brogan and Emmas reacted as scorers for us on the big stage.”
For the Devils, Joslin Blair finished in 18 minutes, 57.1 seconds. Samantha was right behind her in 18:59.1.
Eagle Valley has never had runners go 1-2 at any meet, much less pre-state. Perhaps what makes Brandt even more happy is that Eagle Valley went 1-2-8 with Avery Doan giving the team three in the top 10.
Doan, now a senior, had a tough regional race up in Summit County, a disappointing end to an otherwise good season. Eighth-place is a solid way to start a season.
“It was really exciting to see her running strong,” Brandt said.
Eagle Valley’s Hoss Award winners were freshmen Dillion Flaagan and Lucy McCann.
Both boys teams seem to be overshadowed by their female counterparts. That said, the Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley guys both had top 10 showings down at Colorado Springs.
The Huskies are out for redemption after not qualifying as team for state last season. Senior David Reilly made it as a an individual and is surrounded by a bunch of talented juniors in Deaghan Fahrney, Nico Piliero, Andrew Rogers and Jake Allen.
“That was so fun to see the guys get after it,” Parish said. “The guys did the same thing with a pack run for two miles. We had seven guys between varsity and JV where were under our No. 1 guy at this race last year.”
And, yes, that would be a warning shot from freshman Sullivan Middaugh, who finished third in the JV race on Friday.
Eagle Valley lost Aiden Branch and Jack Neifert to graduation, but the Devils came in as a pack on Friday, their scorers separated by 37 seconds.
Next up for both teams is the Battle Mountain Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1. The meet has been moved to the Willow Creek Par-3, just adjacent to the Homestake Peak School, because that will also be the site of the Region 1 Meet in October. As such, expect pretty much the full bunch of Western Slope and Front Range teams such as Evergreen, Conifer, Golden and Mullen.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.