In ‘Battle Royale,’ distance is king |

In ‘Battle Royale,’ distance is king

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado
SPT track meet1 KA 04-08-08

GYPSUM, Colorado ” For the record, Rifle’s 1,600-meter relay team took first, but that’s not how a group Battle Mountain distance runners will remember the race.

After the top heat of the 1,600 relay at Tuesday’s Battle Mountain Invitational held in Gypsum, the Huskies fielded five teams in what was the inaugural “Battle Royale” of the four-by-four.

Battle Mountain coach Rob Parish formed a team of hurdlers, distance runners, sprinters, jumpers and freshman for the final event of the day.

With the infield of the track going wild, the distance runners jumped out to an early lead, and Tony Crisofulli cruised down the stretch on the final leg to bring his group the title.

“That was a blast,” said Crisofulli, who also won the open 1,600. “We decided bragging rights would be for a year, but then we decided they are forever. We’re going to look back on this day 20 years from now and say, ‘Hey, remember when the distance team beat all of you in the 400?’ That’s what was up that day.”

Jonny Stevens and John O’Neill took the first two legs, while Conor Wallace, who just took first in the open 3,200 by more then a half-minute, mustered the energy to run a fast lap and handoff to Crisofulli. The hurdlers took second, with the sprinters third.

“I gave it everything I had and more because that was more than a race ” those were glory days right there,” said Battle Mountain’s Ryan Hedrick, who had the best day of his track career, winning the 200 and 400. “It’s hard for sprinters because those guys have no endurance.”

“We do nothing over 200 (meters),” said Battle Mountain’s Aaron Wilcox, who won the 100 at 11.25.

After the Battle Royale, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley squared off in the thrower’s 400 relay. Boosted by a super-strong third leg by Zak Thrall, Eagle Valley saw Pavel Pavlov take the pink tape at the finish line.

“I get in the zone,” said Thrall, who won the shot put at 40 feet, 10 1⁄2 inches. “People talk to me, but I don’t even hear it.”

All three local teams competing Tuesday ” Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Vail Christian ” had also been at Saturday’s Eagle Valley Invitational, and put many athletes in events they don’t normally run. The Battle Mountain boys won, with Eagle Valley in third, while the Devils’ girls topped the Huskies’ girls. Times for this meet were done by hand.

Among the out-of-the-comfort-zone competitors, Eagle Valley distance runner Jamie Fahrmeyer showed that maybe he’s a sprinter in hiding. Fahrmeyer ran an 11.95 in the 100, good for fifth, ran a sub-24 second in the 200 for fourth and took second in the 400 at 52.62. Did he know he was fast?

“Not that fast,” said Fahrmeyer, who opted to start from a stand-up position, and not in the blocks. “I’m afraid I’m going to slip and skim my nose all the way across the track. I just stood up like when I run the mile. It definitely was a blast. I really like the 100.”

Field dominance

Eagle Valley’s girls nearly pulled off a first-place sweep in the field events. In the shot put, Jamie Bair went 33 feet, 1 1⁄2 inches for the win, while Jackie Eberhard led a 1-2-3 effort in the discus, at 90-10 1⁄2 . With four girls entered in the triple jump, the Devils owned the pit, taking the top four spots; Emily Kingston led the way at 30-6 1⁄4.

Sasha Pickslay-Zamora went a meet-best 4-8 in the high jump, as did Kingston. And in the pole vault, an ecstatic Angela Phillips cleared a personal-best 8 feet for the win. Battle Mountain’s Annalisa Padget won the long jump at 14-4.

Not to be outdone by their field counterparts, the Eagle Valley girls’ runners had a solid day, with Ashley Rohweder winning the 300 hurdles and the 100 hurdles, which she ran for the first time since seventh grade.

Emily Kingston smoked the field in the 100, while the 400 relay team edged Rifle.

Jessica Linder led the way for Vail Christian with a win in the 3,200 at 13:01, ahead of Huskies’ Anouk Guilmineau and Amelia Ortiz (both 13:15). The Saints saw Elizabeth Shearon grab third in the 100, while Lettie Fickling was fifth in the 300-hurdles. Linder was also third in the 1,600.

What relay?

The Battle Mountain boys weren’t the only Huskies running epic relays. To open the meet, the Battle Mountain girls 3,200 team of McKenzie Stevens, Jamie Lee Roberts, Cecilia Garcia and Ortiz took first. Right after the event, Stevens and Roberts drove to Edwards for a soccer game, which the Huskies won, 3-1, then jetted back to Gypsum, where Roberts helped the 1,600 relay team score.

Kenzie Grant took first in the open 1,600 by 0.29 seconds and came in a close second in the open 800.

The fastest relay of the day belonged to the Battle Mountain 400-meter team of Ascher Robbins, Romaine Wolford, Hedrick and Wilcox. The team ran what would be a school-best 44.11, although coach Parish adds 0.23 seconds to hand-timed events. (Most of the Battle Mountain records were hand-timed, Parish said.)

“I totally think we can get the record by the end of the year,” said Robbins, who was third in the 200. “Our handoffs weren’t perfect. If we can get those handoffs down, the time is going down.”

Hedrick’s win in the 200 over Rifle’s Hazen Moss was his first in four years of head-to-head competition with the Bears’ runner.

“I felt tired but I had the best day of my career,” Hedrick said. “Hazen is a killer athlete and I’d love to keep maintaining what I’m doing.”

Battle Mountain’s Cody Kleisinger won the long jump at 18-1/2, while O’Neill came in just ahead of Jonny Stevens in the 800. The Huskies’ 3,200 relay won by almost 20 seconds.

Eagle Valley’s Scott House won the triple jump, while Pollo Almanza dominated the discus with a winning throw of 131-4 1⁄2.

Vail Christian’s Ryan Vlaar had a stellar 800, taking third at 2:15, while teammate Ian Hamina was fifth in the 3,200. The Saints had a great 3,200 relay, taking third, and picked up points in the 400 and 800 relays.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at or 970-748-2935.

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