Huskies fly away with crown | VailDaily.com
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Huskies fly away with crown

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyThe Battle Mountain boys track and field team won regionals Saturday, giving the Huskies their first crown since 1997, when they were still a 3A school.
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” The most impressive part of Battle Mountain’s win at track and field regionals wasn’t that it was the first since 1997.

And it wasn’t the staggering margin by which they won.

For years to come, the story of the 2008 Battle Mountain boys regional champs will be the ultimate team effort that helped the Huskies win.

Coach Rob Parish didn’t have to wait for his vaunted two-milers to bring home the bacon (Jonny Stevens did win his third consecutive regional title in 3,200, with Jon O’Neill in second).

The moment when Parish knew the Huskies were going to win came in an event where Battle Mountain isn’t necessarily the 800 pound gorilla.

Heading into the open 800 meters, Battle Mountain trailed Glenwood springs by five points.

“We knew we had a spot in the middle of the meet where Glenwood had good events coming, and we didn’t panic,” Parish said.

No, they dominated.

Two of the top long-distance runners in the state, Tony Crisofulli and Stevens, went 1-2, while sophomore and Connor Tedstrom stormed into fourth.

“After that, the foot was on the pedal. We rolled through,” Parish said. “Aaron (Wilcox) and Asher (Robbins) crushed it in the 200 and then came the two-mile, and we never looked back.”

Crisofulli, like many of his teammates, entered events he normally wouldn’t run, like the 800, so the team could bring home the crown.

“That was only the second time I’ve run the open 800,” he said. “Jonny never runs it. He went up, ran it and finished second. It was amazing. In a regional meet, everyone scored points ” the sprinters, hurdlers. Everyone. We weren’t just relying on our distance runners.”

And the Huskies, who scored 165 points to second-place Glenwood’s 122, had to labor through the meet without one of their top point-getters, Ryan Hedrick. Friday, Hedrick pulled a hamstring.

“Ryan was such a focal point of our attack, and to have him go down, it took the wind out of our sails,” Parish said.

Heading into Saturday, the entire coaching staff, all the athletes and even the parents were doing the math, looking to see where they would need to score points for the win.

“We thought it was going to be razor-close,” Parish said. “Twenty-four hours ago I would not have said we would have won by 43.”

From the 100 to the 3,200 in open events and relays, Battle Mountain was dominant. The Huskies were .14 seconds away from sweeping all of the open running events, and won all but one of the relays.

“Before this year, and since we became a 4A school (in 1998), there have been only a few regional champions on our team ” a few distances guys. But this year we have champions all over,” Parish said.

Wilcox won the 200 at 22.47 ” just .06 off the school record and was second in the 100 at 11.63. Robbins was fourth in both the 100 (11.77) and the 200 (23.01).

With Hedrick out for the relays, the Huskies looked to Jackson Higgins in the 400 and 800 relays.

“He was the man of the day,” Parish said. “He’s a first-year track kid from Vail Mountain School, who started mid-way through this season. He made the finals in both hurdle and was a monster in the relays.”

In the 400 relay, the regulars, Wilcox and Robbins, teamed up with Higgins and Cody Kleisenger, who was in for Todd Walker. The team came in at 44.90, .12 seconds ahead of Montezuma-Cortez.

Then, in the 800 relay, the same group, with Walker spelling Kleisenger, took first at 1:31.09, nearly a full second ahead of the next team; the win was the team’s second regional title in a row.

“A lot of credit goes to Coach (Jeff) Krumlauf, because the handoffs were critical. You spend a whole season working on timing. Kudos to him, and kudos to Aaron and Asher ” they are so dominant, and they can build a strong lead, and their handoffs were solid.”

Walker took second in the 400 for the Huskies at 50.65, which was .30 off the school record.

Crisofulli’s winning time in the 800 was 1:57.44, with Stevens at 1:59.32 and Tedstrom at 2:02.07. The Huskies went 1-2-3 in Friday’s 1,600, while Stevens won his third consecutive 3,200 title at 10:02.94, with O’Neill at 10:05.56. Conor Wallace (10:28.05) was seventh.

The 1,600 relay of Crisofulli, Walker, Parke Robbins and O’Neill took third at 3:31.93.

In the 110 hurdles, Higgins had a time that would have stood for third place, but officials disqualified him for hitting too many hurdles.

“He was a little bummed … but he got it in his head that he wasn’t going to let it happen again,” Crisofulli said.

Higgins was seventh in the 300 hurdles at 44.27, while Parke Robbins took sixth at 43.87. Kleisenger was sixth in the high jump (5-8).

Nearly every Battle Mountain athlete at regionals will be competing at state next week.

“Every year we’ve increased the size of our bus,” Crisofulli said. “Nobody is going to get their own seat.”

For all the dominance the boys had in the 3,200, the girls put on a pretty good show, too.

Kenzie Grant lead a 1-3-5 finish for the girls, who tied for fifth overall.

Grant came in at 11:51.32, with Cecilia Garcia in third at 12:32.49 and Anouk Guilmineau in fifth at 13:06.49

“That was only the second time Kenzie has run it,” Parish said. “Cecilia was in fourth with a lap-and-a-half to go, and made a push into third. Anouk got tangled up with Kenzie early on, fell, but popped right up and kept going.”

In the 400, Jen Thul was seventh (63.66) while Jenna Bearisto was eighth in the 100 (14.52).

One day after helping the 3,200 team advance to state, Jamie Lee Roberts ran a stellar 800, coming in fourth at 2:24.85.

In the 300 hurdles, Heidi Sorenson was fourth at 49.67.

The 800 and 1,600 relay teams took fifth while Ana Padgett was fifth in the long jump.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.

Two of the top long-distance runners in the state, Tony Crisofulli and Stevens, went 1-2, while sophomore and Connor Tedstrom stormed into fourth.

“After that, the foot was on the pedal. We rolled through,” Parish said. “Aaron (Wilcox) and Asher (Robbins) crushed it in the 200 and then came the two-mile, and we never looked back.”

Crisofulli, like many of his teammates, entered events he normally wouldn’t run, like the 800, so the team could bring home the crown.

“That was only the second time I’ve run the open 800,” he said. “Jonny never runs it. He went up, ran it and finished second. It was amazing. In a regional meet, everyone scored points ” the sprinters, hurdlers. Everyone. We weren’t just relying on our distance runners.”

And the Huskies, who scored 165 points to second-place Glenwood’s 122, had to labor through the meet without one of their top point-getters, Ryan Hedrick. Friday, Hedrick pulled a hamstring.

“Ryan was such a focal point of our attack, and to have him go down, it took the wind out of our sails,” Parish said.

Heading into Saturday, the entire coaching staff, all the athletes and even the parents were doing the math, looking to see where they would need to score points for the win.

“We thought it was going to be razor-close,” Parish said. “Twenty-four hours ago I would not have said we would have won by 43.”


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