The dynasty continues for Huskies XC | VailDaily.com

The dynasty continues for Huskies XC

Rychelle Denardo races along with Elizabeth Constien on the left and Alex Raichart on the right at the Friday's Region 6 Meet on Friday in Delta. The Huskies won their fifth consecutive regional title.
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Region 6 meet

Girls

4. Rychelle Denardo, BM, 18:57

5. Elizabeth Constien, BM, 18:58

6. Alex Raichart, BM, 19:05

7. Megan Rossman, BM, 19:15

9. Naomi Harding, BM, 19:23

11, Lizzy Harding, BM, 19:27

15. Hannah Gaylord, BM, 19:44

16. Shawna Adams, EV, 19:48

19. Melissa Delgado, BM, 20:01

27. Taylor Hermosillo, EV, 20:43

30. Kayla Fahrney, BM, 20:47

39 Maddlyne Schenck, EV, 21:05

44. Brynn Mehan, EV, 21:30

57. Avery Doan, EV, 22:06

58. Katy Grewe, EV, 22:12

72. Shelby Essex, EV, 23:07

78. Zoe Braun, EV, 24:29

Boys

3. Alexis Aguirre, BM, 15:54 (15:58)

8. Ethan Pence, BM, 16:25

9. Aiden Branch, EV, 16:26

10. Jake Borel, BM, 16:26 (tenths)

13. Franklin Reilly, BM, 16:29

14. Brandon Sheard, EV, 16:43

15. Isac Sotelo, BM, 16:45

16. Koby Simonton, BM, 16:58

19. Nate Badger, BM, 17:00

24. Jack Neifert, EV, 17:13

33. Patrick Johnson, BM, 17:36

36. Douglas McMurrain, BM, 17:38

42. Isaac Yoder, EV, 17:52

52. Luke Morrisey, EV, 18:20

53. Matt Jordan, EV, 18:20 (tenths)

54. Dean Smith, EV, 18:29

56. Tony Hernandez, EV, 18:38

67. Gordon Yoder, EV, 19:31

DELTA — There are other teams in Region 6 when it comes to cross-country. Honest. Yet, come October in Delta, Region 6 is Battle Mountain’s turf.

The Huskies continued the dynasty as the girls won their fifth regional title on Friday. The Battle Mountain boys closed the gap on Durango and won their second consecutive league title, while Alexis Aguirre set a new school record, erasing his coach’s mark.

But, as always, ladies first.

The Huskies’ scores went 4-5-6-7-9, turning the regional meet into a intrasquad race. Battle Mountain beat its nearest competitor, Steamboat Springs, 31-87. A reminder, this is like golf, lower is better and that wasn’t close.

Lizzy Harding finished 11th and didn’t score for the Huskies. She would have scored for any of the 10 other teams present on Friday. The Huskies had seven in the top 15 and all nine of their runners in the top 30.

Good morning, good afternoon and good night.

“We’re just extremely pleased, not just about today, but the way they’ve been running all season,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said.

Passing the torch

The cross-country community devours numbers. Parish has records of every Battle Mountain runner back to guys like Robert Finlay in the early 2000s, when he started his gig as coach.

What gives him his post-race giggle particularly about the 2015 edition of girls cross-country is that it is always someone different leading the pack. Friday, it was Rychelle Denardo in fourth. At different points this season, Elizabeth Constien (fifth on Friday), Alex Raichart (sixth) and Harding have led the team at races. Before she got hurt, Kaela Fahrney (hip flexor) was the team’s No. 1. Fahrney took 30th on Friday, despite not having practiced for the last month.

“It’s very exciting, knowing I have my teammates right behind me,” Denardo said. “It pushes me to do better. We never know how it’s going to run out.”

The ladies come by this honestly. Rychelle is not the first Denardo to run for the Huskies (Jenai). Elizabeth Constien follows Val. Hannah Gaylord follows Sydney.

“The older girls have taken the younger girls and brought them into the culture of the program,” Parish said. “We have girls who are in college who are part of this run, and it still continues.”

With state approaching, Air Academy remains the team to beat on the girls’ side. Mountain View is the defending state champion. The Classical Academy, Thompson Valley and Battle Mountain should all be in the mix.

Down goes Jonny

Aguirre ran a time of 15 minutes, 54 seconds on Friday, and that toppled Jonny Stevens’ time of 15:58, set in 2007.

The irony of the situation is that the guy helping Aguirre break the record is none other than Stevens himself, now an assistant coach.

“It’s been great,” Aguirre said. “He’s taught me a lot throughout my season. He’s the one who’s pushed me and helped me fight through it so I could run down his time.”

The Huskies staff was originally worried that Thursday’s rain might slow down the track in Delta. There were a few muddy spots, but it wasn’t a quagmire.

Aguirre knew his splits were good and when he approached the finish line and saw the clock, he knew he had it.

“Jonny and Alexis have had a good time with the record,” Parish said.

Meanwhile, Stevens still can lay claim to two team state titles, and if that doesn’t work, there’s always the option of a squid.

Boys close on Durango

The prohibitive favorite on the boys’ side, Durango won with 28 points followed by the Huskies at 49. That is nonetheless a great showing by Battle Mountain. (Durango’s average time was 16:01, which is silly good.)

The first Huskies team to win at regionals in 2005 topped the field with 51 points.

“They came down to compete today,” Parish said. “They got over the shock-and-awe effect at the beginning of the season and did not back off the challenge.”

The Battle Mountain squad had four runners under 16:30 on Friday — Aguirre, Ethan Pence, Jake Borel and Frankling Reily. Regardless of the competition, that’s fast.

Devils send two

Aiden Branch and Brandon Sheard qualified as individuals for Eagle Valley. That’s a tremendous accomplishment as a runner has to finish in the top 15. With Durango and Battle Mountain taking 11 of the top 15 spots, Branch and Sheard are in darn fine company.

The Devils boys had some heartbreak as a team. The top-four teams qualified for state next week, and Eagle Valley was fifth, just nine points behind Montrose.

“We definitely fell short of our goal as a team, but we’re really proud of the kids,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “Seven of nine guys ran personal-bests. We knew it was going to be a challenging race, and they laid it out there.”

The ladies finished seventh as a team. Junior Shawna Adams finished 16th, just one spot out of state.

The Hosses were Tony Hernandez and Maddlyne Schenck.

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