Huskies harriers start strong at Harrison
COLORADO SPRINGS – Battle Mountain cross country got its first look at the state-meet course at Harrison High School Thursday.Five kilometers later, the Huskies really liked what they saw. The girls team finished fourth out of 30 teams, while the boys were eighth out of 38.”Last year, we started the season with a race in Denver and it was really disappointing,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “This year is the best start by far that we’ve had since I’ve been here. We were racing against most of the top schools in the state. We were very impressed.”Nice debut for PetersonThere’s no question that Leslie Peterson’s got the 400-meter distance down. She has silver and bronze state-track medals in her trophy case. But, the Vail Christian junior also seems to like the 5K distance as well.In her first cross country race, she led the Huskies, finishing 21st in a time of 21 minutes, 53 seconds.”She ran incredibly,” Parish said. “She just ran controlled and confident and exceeded our expectations.”Erika Ghent was right on her tail in 23rd (21:30). Eagle Valley’s Jessica Medsker made her cross country debut and clocked a 22:13, good for 31st. In what was a tough day for her, but a good day for most mortals, Molly McGee took 38th in 22:45. Whitney Allard rounded out the scoring in 65th.Stevenson lettersMandarin orange man, aka Grant Stevenson, became the first Battle Mountain Penguin (the team’s unofficial mascot) to qualify for state. With lettering time at 18:30 – 90 seconds lower than last year – Stevenson got his “H” easily, finishing in 17:21 in 12th place.”He had a personal best by more than half a minute,” Parish said. “His summer of training certainly paid off. He showed today how hard he’s been working.”As an added bonus, Stevenson was the top runner from the 4A Western Slope. Ben Rogers just missed his letter with a time of 18:36, finishing 44th. Andy Given was 59th (18:58), Zach Erickson 67th (19:09) and Jake Ball 85th (19:36). Ball’s time was a p.r.Surveying and surprisingThe Huskies were glad to have a good performance at Harrison. They were also happy to get a state preview.”All the kids got valuable experience on the course,” Parish said. “It’s a very flat course. At the same time, it has many turns and twists. It’s a very technical course. This is something to point to during the regular season. We’ll modify our training for the course during the season.”The junior varsity ranks will be providing some new competition after Thursday’s race. Freshman Jonathan Stevens finished fourth out of a field of 454. With his time of 18:25, he posted the Huskies’ second-best time on the day and would have lettered had he run on the varsity team.”His next race, he will definitely be on varsity,” joked Parish.Christa Ghent (14th) and Britton Bock (16th) in the girls JV race also earned promotions to the big time.Battle Mountain will have a light day of practice today before heading to Delta, the 4A regional race site, Saturday.Chris Freud is the sports editor of the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614, or via firstname.lastname@example.org.