Girls take fourth place overall
It’s just a matter of time before the Titans girls’ cross-country team begins its assault on the rest of the state.
They already made an impression, winning the race in Leadville last week with nearly a full squad of runners.
On Saturday, September 13, they headed down valley to compete in the Gunnison Invitational, finishing in fourth place against 3A and 4A schools, despite missing one of their top runners, senior Maddison Garcia.
It was a new course in Gunnison and the flat layout showed potential for a fast race. Yet, with tight turns thrown in the mix, runners were forced to ease into certain corners before breaking back into their race stride.
“It was flat on grass but it had some sharp turns,” says coach Emma Catmur. “The times weren’t as fast as people thought they were going to be.”
Still, with 4A school Alamosa and several 3A schools including Gunnison in the line up, the pace proved anything but easy.
Sophomore Titan runner Erin Kelly took off from the start sandwiched by two Alamosa runners in the lead pack. As the race progressed, the third-place runner fell off the lead pack pace, leaving Kelly to represent the valley.
Kelly held on as long as she could, but the Alamosa runner held on to lead through the entire race.
Kelly came across in second place out of the field of 100 runners with a time of 20:25.
Sophomore Hannah Smith and senior Emma Vosburg teamed up through the first mile of the race to hold their places in the top 10.
By the second mile, Smith started to pull away to finish the race on her own in seventh place with a time of 22:10. Vosburg carried her pace to the finish line to take ninth place with a time of 22:44.
Senior Kelli Hargrove was the final scoring runner for the Titans girls’ team putting together a gutsy effort after starting the race under the weather.
Hargrove battled from the back of the pack to pick her way through the masses and move up into 43rd place by the finish line with a time of 26:12 giving the girls team a fourth-place finish overall.
Sophomore Madeline Malzhan was just six seconds off Hargrove in 44th with a time of 26:18.
Freshman Jessie D’Aquila improved on her time from the race in Leadville to come in 59th and her sister sophomore Jenna D’Aquila took 64th place.
The Titan boys’ team had two runners in Gunnison, junior Nicholas Harper-Johnson and freshman David Bright.
Harper-Johnson gave his best performance of the season with a time of 21:18 to come in 27th place out of the sizeable field of talent.
“He looked the best he has looked all year,” says Catmur.
Bright continues to gain varsity experience racing in just his second five-kilometer length race and his first varsity-level event.
Bright posted a time of 24:05 to finish in 63rd place.
“He improved on his time from his first race, so that’s a good sign,” says Catmur.
The Titans head to Ridgway on Friday, September 19 to race in the Ramble at the Reservoir.
Catmur expects to have a full team by the time they head to a big Front Range meet in Pueblo the following weekend and will get a good idea of where they stand against the rest of the state.