Vail Valley Preps: Huskies XC hosts meet Saturday |

Vail Valley Preps: Huskies XC hosts meet Saturday

Special to the Daily The Battle Mountain girls cross country team gets ready to go at the season-opening race at Fort Colling. The Huskies host the Battle Moiuntain Invitational Saturday at Beaver Creek.

BEAVER CREEK – Welcome back, Battle Mountain cross country.

The Huskies will be running in their backyard for the first time in two years Saturday with the Battle Mountain Invitational at Beaver Creek on Saturday.

The boys’ team races at 10 a.m., followed by the girls at 10:45.

Yes, the Huskies ran in Eagle last year, but this is much more in the tradition of Battle Mountain cross country in the sense of a home meet.

“It’s really cool just to be in the valley, to have people come out and support us,” Huskies runner Sam Engle said. “A lot of people don’t know what we do as a team.”

What Battle Mountain cross country does – and very well – is run the hills. The race starts at the base of Centennial and heads west toward Haymeadow and the Village Loop. The course moves up around Haymeadow and back down Corkscrew for one loop.

The high school racers will do two loops for a course that’s expected to be a little longer than the standard 3.1-mile race. With the race start at 8,100 feet and 400 feet of elevation gain in each loop, Saturday’s race should be a tough test,

“The first mile of each loop has an uphill grade. Then it’s a half-a-mile downhill,” Huskies coach Ken Long said. “We’ve been running on it once a week, so the kids know all the nooks and crannies of the course, where the corners are, where you can make up ground. They’re comfortable with the course.”

They should be well-rested as well. When the Huskies hit the road for a meet on the Front Range, the bus leaves at 5 a.m., meaning the alarm clock is set for 4:30 a.m. or so. The Huskies will be “sleeping in” until 7:30 in the morning on Saturday.

With transition between coaches and athletic directors over the summer, this edition of the Battle Mountain Invitational is starting small with the Huskies, Steamboat Springs, Lake County and Middle Par. Then again, the first Battle Mountain Invitational in 2003, held at the Willow Creek Par-3 had just two teams as the Huskies beat Rifle.

That event grew into a good-sized meet with 5A schools attending by 2007.

“Just having a home crowd for them to run in front of is exciting,” Long said. “They’ll have friends and family. They won’t have to travel. Also, while the older kids get to know the courses they run because they’ve traveled to a place a few times, everyone knows this course.”

Everybody runs

Before the high school race, the day starts with a citizen’s race at 9 a.m. Open to everyone, you can run the course the Huskies will be tackling. As an added bonus, for those interested in not having to run the full two laps, one’s OK, too.

The citizen’s race is fundraiser for Huskies cross country. The team needs to raise money for new warm-up suits as well as travel costs for the squad. Pre-registration is available at for $25 or through your favorite Huskies runner. All team members have entry forms. A T-shirt comes with your race entry.

Day-of registration is $35.

There will be prizes for the top-three runners – male and female – who complete the full course, read both loops.

After the citizen’s race, the middle schoolers run at 9:30 a.m.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

Battle Mountain Invite

Citizen’s race, 9 a.m.

Middle-school race, 9:30 a.m.

Boys varsity, 10 a.m.

Girls varsity, 10:45 a.m.

Awards, 11:30 a.m.

Cost: $25 through Friday at or $35 on Saturday, T-shirt included.

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