Huskies girls win league track and field title
GRAND JUNCTION — It wasn’t a drought, per se, but Battle Mountain girls track and field is back on top of the 4A Western Slope.
The Huskies ladies won their fourth league title in the last five years on Saturday, edging Palisade (177-172.5) with defending champ Eagle Valley (113) in third. On the boys’ side, Palisade (179) ran away from everyone with Battle Mountain (141.5) sliding past Eagle Valley (131).
That’s the Huskies boys’ highest finish at the league meet since the 2008 team won the thing.
Battle Mountain started out strongly because that’s how the schedule works. Pole vault, discus, the 3,200 meters and the 800 meters have their finals early in the weekend and the Huskies are strong in those.
As expected Palisade charged on Saturday, and it started to seem like the Huskies and Bulldogs started throwing punches and counter punches.
The first turning point was the 300 hurdles. A coach will map out the path to maximum points, but that’s theory. The athletes have to execute.
Lilly McMurrain, Sofia Calabrese and Izze Calabrese went 1-2-3 for 24 team points and the Huskies were back in the lead.
Palisade responded by going 1-2-3 in the 200, the next event. The good news for the Huskies is that McMurrain and Sofia Calabrese went fourth and sixth, respectively. It’s nice to win and get 10 points, but multiples of athletes picking up points starts to add up.
The Huskies ended up taking the lead for good during the 1,600 with Rychelle Denardo in second, Kaela Fahrney in fourth and Hannah Gaylord in seventh. There was still the matter of the mile relay.
Not only had Battle Mountain moved its 400 specialists out of the mile relay to procure points elsewhere, but the Huskies still had to take care of the baton and finish ahead of Palisade. (Battle Mountain is still smarting from a disqualification in the medley at the 2014 league meet.)
Malia Barca, McMurrain, Melissa Delgado and Jordan Brandt brought it home in third, two spots ahead of Palisade.
“It’s phenomenal, especially for the seniors, to climb back and win it,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “It’s a testament, not just to today’s team, but to the athletes we’ve had for the last five years. We’ve been very fortunate during the recent cycle.”
Meet the league champs
Battle Mountain had five league champions, while the Devils racked up seven.
The Huskies’ 800 relay of Sands Simonton, Irvin Rodriguez, Owen Riley and Creek Kamby reached the top step. David Casas was golden in the discus. McMurrain led the thundering herd that was the 300 hurdles.
Sofia Calabrese was tops in the high jump and Izze Calabrese took care of the pole vault.
Eagle Valley had the only double champ — Gino Giovagnoli won both the open 400 and 800. The Devils’ John Davis won the high jump after an adventurous day.
“Before his first jump, he accidentally spiked himself,” Devils coach Jeff Shroll said. “He was bleeding all over the place. We had to get first aid to get him mended up. Then the kid went out and set a (personal record) of (6 feet, 2 inches.)”
There is no truth to the rumor that Schroll plans on spiking Davis’ other leg before the state meet.
Miles Petterson triumphed in the pole vault. Xavier Hernandez is the king of the shot put, and Riley Rowles conquered the long jump. Charise Crabb is the champion in the 100 hurdles.
And a big shout out goes to Battle Mountain throwing and strength coach Ian Calhoun. He was named the 4A Slope Coach of the Year on Saturday.
About State Meet
A reminder that the state meet is not next week. Next week is now last-chance qualifying for the state meet. The Devils will be at the Tiger Invitational in Grand Junction, while Huskies are out at St. Vrain.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.