Huskies harriers, all 53, looking strong
EAGLE-VAIL – Fifty-three athletes came out for this team.This is not Battle Mountain football, where we’re happy to report the Huskies have exceeded that number.This is not Battle Mountain boys soccer, which is always a huge draw.This is not Battle Mountain volleyball, where girls come out by the boat load.This is Battle Mountain cross country – and this team is huge and talented.”We’re super excited,” head coach Rob Parish said. “We’re thrilled to have the number of kids we have. The kids have really sold the program well and we’re building on success from previous years.”You can see them run up and down Eagle-Vail road and Highway 6, running to the Shop ‘n’ Hop. They’re running the hills of Eagle-Vail and hitting the track. The runners are likely the toughest of all fall sports athletes.
“It takes mental toughness,” Witter said. “Physical ability is definitely a part, being willing to go out there and push yourself to achieve your goals. That makes you a good runner.”Girls eye stateGood runners the Huskies have. You can start with Molly McGee and Erika Ghent, who finished 50th and 51st at state, respectively, last year. And, those performances are fueling optimism that the Huskies could make state as a team, instead of just sending individuals.”Next week, we’re having a goal-setting meeting and I expect they’ll make it their goal to make it to state as a team.” Parish said. “And, that’s certainly my expectation as well.”The girls team missed state last year by five points with their best runner, Jenny Thorne, running with shin-splints. Thorne and Maddie McCaulley have graduated, but the ladies are deep.Along with McGee, Ghent, Sammy McCoy, Whitney Allard (the girls team captain) and Marit Johnson returning, the Huskies have added Leslie Peterson from Vail Christian. She’s only a two-time medalist in track. Then, there’s Eagle Valley’s Jessica Medsker, who has also distinguished herself on the oval.
Throw in the likes of Brooke Seggerberg, Melissa Hines, Britton Bock, Jill Ewing and Jenna Rowe, and this could be a special season.Boys team solidThe boys probably have a tougher road to state, but Parish is undeterred.”The guys, although they’re not as deep, have every bit of a chance of making it because they’ve worked so hard during the offseason,” he said. “We have a core of guys who have logged 500 to 600 miles between them this summer. Grant Stevenson (boys team captain), Zach Erickson, Ben Rogers, Andy Given and Corey Wilson have put in an incredible amount of time and are in the best shape of their lives.”Parish added that freshman Jonathan Stevens could turn heads in 2004. Although he’ll be held out of the season opener at Harrison Sept. 2 – it’s a team rule that freshman don’t go in the first race – Parish expects big things from Stevens.Jake Ball, Tyler Thompson, John Kerby and Harrison Huntoon also look to have promising seasons.
A new strategyHarrison, located in Colorado Springs, is the site of the 4A state meet. On Sept. 4, the Huskies are at Delta, the regional meet site. This is not a coincidence.”That was a part of our strategy,” Parish said. “Although they’re right next to each other, we want to make sure that we have those courses in our head all season long. We’re also changing our training. We usually focus on hills, but this year’s regional and state course are flat, so we’ll be focusing a lot on speed in the flats.”That is, with the exception of Oct. 2’s Battle Mountain Invite at Beaver Creek. The second home meet in school history will have plenty of hills, thank you.”We feel that the program has arrived with that race,” Parish said. “Currently, there are 15 teams scheduled to compete in that race. We figure it’s a chance for us to shine. We’ll train extensively on that course, and all those teams will have to deal with the altitude.” Chris Freud is the sports editor of the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614, or via email@example.com.