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Huskies XC finishes fourth at state

Robert Shearon | Special to the DailyBattle Mountain girls cross-country team is a happy bunch after finishing fourth at the 4A state meet Saturday in Arapahoe.
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ARAPAHOE – Notice has been served.

Battle Mountain girls cross-country could be scary good next fall.

Actually, the ladies are pretty scary good right now as they took fourth in Saturday’s 4A state meet at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds behind Thompson Valley, Mountain View and Cheyenne Mountain.



“We might take a few days off,” Huskies coach Ken Long joked. “They’re already talking about track season.”

Here’s why Battle Mountain is bubbly about its future – Mandy Ortiz (11th in the state Saturday) is a junior. Sydney Gaylord (32nd) is a sophomore. Val Constein (40th) is a sophomore. Jenai Denardo (57th)? She’s a sophomore. Samantha Katz, Scooby to her friends, finished 86th as the team’s fifth scorer and is Battle Mountain varsity’s only senior.

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Nicole Marengo and Bridgett Courtois, runners Nos. 6-7? Sophomores.

As longtime broadcaster Dick Enberg has been known to say, “Oh, my.”

By the way, the Battle Mountain ladies were 20th last year at state. Fourth would be a lot better.



“It was a pretty amazing day,” Long said. “To think where we are now compared to where we were at (the) Pre-State (Meet, also at the Arapahoe Fairgrounds), and how far we’ve come since is a true testament to how hard the girls worked this year.”

And truth be told, the Huskies were pretty dinged up.

“It’s really a matter of getting healthy,” Long said. “For a lot of the girls, it was their first cross-country season. That amount of mileage and competitive racing takes a toll.”

David Suarez, who has been one busy young man this week, also fared well running as an individual competitor. He took 98th.

“It is tough running by yourself,” Long said. “It is his third state meet, but he’s looking forward to getting his teammates back here. He’s also playing soccer, so he was there Thursday for the soccer team’s win, came down here for the meet and then was racing back to get to (Saturday’s) soccer game. That’s stressful.”

Devils shine at state

ARAPAHOE – Eagle Valley boys cross-country got its seat at the table and the gents intend to keep it.

In their state debut, the Devils finished 25th. Yes, 25 teams qualified, but there are another 30-plus 4A teams in the state who didn’t make it to the dance, so Eagle Valley cross-country should hold its collective head high.

“They were definitely excited to be there,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “I think they ran well for being there for the first time. The times were slower than regionals, but they gained some valuable experience.”

This is the crux of the matter. A state meet may be 3.1 miles just like any other race. It may have uphills and downhills and just like another races. But state is a different animal.

Eagle Valley got valuable experience Saturday that the runners will use for next season and impart to the rest of the program. And like their counterparts in Edwards, the Devils return their top-three state finishers in Gregg Salaz, Hunter Burnham and Nathan Maddox.

Salaz, who qualified as an individual last year, cracked the top 50, a pre-meet goal, and Burnham, making his state debut, finished right were Salaz did last year.

“Robbie (Clark), Nathan and Carson (McQueeney), none of those guys were on the regional team last year,” Brandt said. “They worked their tails off to be a part of this team by running in the offseason. There was definitely a lot of good experience and good take-aways from today.”

Clark and Andre Eisenmann are the team’s only seniors. Eisenmann took home the Hoss Award in his final race.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Local state runners

Battle Mountain

Girls, fourth

11. Mandy Ortiz, 19:44

32. Sydney Gaylord, 20:30

40. Val Constein, 20:41

57, Jenai Denardo, 20:58

86. Samantha Katz, 21:35

110. Nicole Marengo, 22:03

125. Bridgett Courtois, 22:16

Boys

98. David Saurez, 18:18

Eagle Valley

Boys, 25th

49. Gregg Salaz, 17:47

114. Hunter Burnham, 18:37

154. Nathan Maddox, 19:20

161. Robbie Clark, 19:28

168. Andre Eisenmann, 19:44

171. Rafael Gurule, 19:48

177. Carson McQueeney, 2012


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