State bound

Bulldog cross-country team headed to Colorado Springs

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After Saturday's regional meet in Battle Mountain, the boys cross-country team and three members of the girls team are headed to the state meet next weekend.

Jake Miller began the race at Battle Mountain High School in fourth place. One mile in, he battled to first.

"I wasn't sure I had it until the last 500 meters," Miller said. "I made a hard surge and gutted out the last part of the race."

Miller's overall first-place finish in 17 minutes and 40 seconds helped propel the boys team to a second-place finish and 57 points.

Senior Jeremy Bird's third-place finish helped, too.

"I fought hard," Bird said. "But I like flat courses better."

Bird went out Saturday morning hard and led for much of the first mile. But he fell behind and stationed himself in third place for the rest of the race. Bird crossed the line at 17:52.

"The guys ran very comparable to last week," coach Todd Trapp said. "You need to run well at regionals or you don't get to run at state."

The Bulldog boys continued a strong showing Saturday, with Mike McNicol finishing in sixth place overall in 18:19.

Jake Breslin finished 23rd in 19:50, and Corey Wojtkiewicz finished 24th in 19:52.

Trapp had mixed emotions Saturday, knowing the boys team would continue to represent Moffat County at the Class 4A state meet, and the girls struggled and finished 12 points away from qualifying as a team.

"We didn't expect Battle Mountain to finish where they did in the girls race," Trapp said. "They have been in and out of injuries, but today, they put everything together."

As the anticipation mounted before the race Saturday morning, sophomore Alicia Nelson went about her usual routine.

Nelson, who finished first last week on the same course, was due for a repeat performance, and she got exactly that and more.

Nelson won the Region 5A cross-country championships and finished 25 seconds faster than the previous week, in 20:36.

"I felt relaxed and strong," Nelson said. "I was more confident this week."

Nelson said that, strategically, she waited on the heels of Glenwood Springs frontrunner Katrina Selsor and Battle Mountain frontrunner, Jessica Linder.

During the second hill of the second mile, Nelson was sure she could surge ahead and keep the lead.

"Everyone stepped up today and ran well," Trapp said.

Katy Nottingham finished in 22:16 for sixth place.

"Katy ran well as a freshman," Trapp said. "Everyone stepped up today and ran pretty good."

Another Bulldog who played her cards right was Jeacey Robinson. The junior placed 11th with a time of 22:30.

Amber Suits and Elaine DuBois finished 25th and 35th, respectively, and helped the Bulldog girls to a fourth-place team finish with 78 points.

Trapp said that this year was the first time in his five years as coach -- and most likely the first time in 10 years -- that both Bulldog teams are not headed to state.

However, as consolation for the girls, Nelson, Nottingham and Robinson each qualified individually for the state meet.

The Class 4A cross-country championships will be held Saturday in Colorado Springs.

Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or mmcdaniels@craigdailypress.com.

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