Erin Kelly takes first
The Crested Butte Titans girls’ cross-country team destroyed the field of runners at the Leadville Invitational on Saturday, September 6, with four girls placing in the top 10 to take the overall team title.
Sophomore Erin Kelly and senior Maddison Garcia led the charge off the starting line with the two girls in a homespun one-on-one battle for first place.
Kelly managed to eke out a slight lead by the final climb to the finish to take first place, covering the five-kilometer course in 21 minutes 23 seconds.
Garcia was close behind as she charged into the finish in second place with a time of 21 minutes and 43 seconds.
Two other Titans runners teamed up during the race to hold court in the top 10 finishers.
Sophomore Hannah Smith and senior Emma Vosburg used each other to push through the course and up the high altitude climbs. Smith finished in seventh place with a time of 23 minutes and eight seconds and Vosburg in eighth place with a time of 23 minutes and 22 seconds.
“It was awesome,” says coach Emma Catmur. “Erin and Maddie worked together and Hannah and Emma worked together and that helped a lot.”
The next closest team to Crested Butte came from down valley as the Gunnison girls finished in second place 23 points behind the Titans.
Titans sophomore Madeline Malzhan had a solid race in her 2008 season debut on the notoriously tough Leadville course, coming in 30th place.
Junior Monica Konsella continued her domination of the junior varsity ranks, posting her second win in a row as she awaits her move up to varsity.
Konsella moved to Crested Butte this summer and due to Colorado High School Activities Association rules, may not participate in varsity contests for the first half of the season.
Meanwhile, Konsella’s tearing apart her competition, finishing the course in 22 minutes and 35 seconds.
“When she’s able to run varsity, she’ll be top five,” says Catmur.
Senior Kelli Hargrove had a strong showing in the JV race as well, shaving three minutes off her time a week ago despite the tougher course.
Junior Nicholas Harper-Johnson had his best race of the season thus far in Leadville. Harper-Johnson placed 30th as he continues to shake off some early-season injuries and sophomore Jeffrey Hargrove finished in 35th place in the varsity race.
“They’re all running really well and we’re seeing improvement in a lot of them,” says Catmur.
The team now prepares itself for the Gunnison Invitational on Saturday, September 13 at 9 a.m. at the Gunnison High School.
Catmur expects to see a strong field of runners at the event, with a furious pace.
“I’ve heard it’s a flat course this year so it should be fast,” says Catmur.
This is the only chance to catch the Titan runners in competition close to home, so head down to Gunnison to push them to another first-place finish.