Huskies harriers try to streak to state
program’s history, Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m., at the Willow Creek Par-3.|Special to the Daily|Karin Prescott|
EAGLE-VAIL – They gather.
And, they keep gathering and gathering in front of Battle Mountain High School during the four o’ clock hour.
And, that’s about the only time you can catch them. Because once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Welcome to the ever-growing Battle Mountain cross-country team, which now numbers more than 30 harriers.
“It is amazing to see the growth of the team and to know that the community is talking about us also,” said Kelli Witter, who coaches the team with Rob “Don’t call me Mark” Parish. “The parents are spreading the word. The kids are spreading the word and we’re growing.”
Not only is the program growing, but these guys and gals are getting faster.
Since moving up to 4A, only Catherine Himmes has qualified for state. The Huskies came close in 2002 with Rob Finlay and Sabrina Ste. Marie just missing out. But, the Huskies don’t expect a repeat in 2003.
“We’re looking for sub-20 (minutes) for the boys and sub-23s for girls to get them there,” Witter said. “There was heartbreak last year with how those kids missed it. We’re not going to see that this year.”
In fact, Witter has some high expectations.
“Our goal is to become stronger as a team and, hopefully, this year, take both boys and girls to state as a team,” Witter said. “I think we’re strong enough to do it. Practice-wise, the kids are going out. The miles are adding up. We’re working hard on hills. They’re pushing each other and the support is amazing on this team.”
Part of that team chemistry can be traced back to a preseason, optional camp the team held. The runners got to to know each other and bonded. Witter believes that the experience has made the team all the more stronger.
Many team members spent the summer running on the own or in the Teva Vail Mountain Running Series. For those who reported to camp in not-so good shape, well …
“If they aren’t in shape, they get in good shape pretty quickly,” Witter laughed.
The varsity squad is loaded this year and the team is anxious for its first meet Friday at Arapahoe at 4 p.m.
“Sabrina Ste. Marie has come back strong. She was away at ski camp this summer,” Witter said. “She’s already running pretty well. I’m looking for great things from Maddie McCaulley and Kim White. (Ben Rogers), he’s up at the top of the boys right now. Right behind him are Zach Ericson and Andy Given and Corey Wilson.”
Throw in the likes of Danielle Wray, Whitney Allard, Andrea Knight and Sammy McCoy and you’ve got a strong girls team. The same can be said of the boys team, which also includes Riley Pack, Jonathan Kerby and Davis Gaul.
The team’s schedule includes all the regular stops except one. And with the exception of regionals and, hopefully, state, it’s the most anticipated meet of the season. On Sept. 9 – it’s a Tuesday, mark your calendars – the Huskies host a meet for the first time in the program’s history – a dual against Rifle. The race centers around the Willow Creek Par-3. As a sidenote, rest assured, no golfers will be playing at the time.
“We’re starting back by the soccer field, going to come around the school, double back on the dirt road and head up onto the par-3 and then down it and do another loop,” Wiitter said.
The race is also open to the public. So, catch them if you can.
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.