Bulldog runner Chris Zirkle, shown above in last month's Bulldog Invite, placed 18th Saturday in Loveland. Zirkle's time of 17 minutes, 53 seconds was tops among the MCHS boys team, helping MCHS to a fifth-place finish.

Photo by John Vandelinder

Bulldog runner Chris Zirkle, shown above in last month's Bulldog Invite, placed 18th Saturday in Loveland. Zirkle's time of 17 minutes, 53 seconds was tops among the MCHS boys team, helping MCHS to a fifth-place finish.

Eyeing the finish line

MCHS cross-country team places 5th in Loveland

Loveland race results

MCHS cross country at Mountain View New Balance/Centerra Cross Country Classic, Loveland

5K - gravel/dirt

Team results

Girls - DNP

Boys - fifth out of 17 teams

Individual results

Girls

3. Alicia Nelson 18:58#

2. Maddy Jourgensen 19:30*

23. Nike Cleverly 21:52*

92. Laura Zirkle 24:01*

68. Megan Knez 26:42*

Boys

18. Chris Zirkle 17:53*

23. Colt Criswell 18:12*

33. Cory Wojtkiewicz 18:47*

34. Alfredo Lebron 18:47*

56. Jarred Blevins 19:38*

91. Jimmy Howe 21:17*

# raced in first division

* raced in second division

Since the beginning of the cross-country season, Moffat County High School coach Todd Trapp has preached improvement each and every week.

With the team's seventh week of competition now behind it, the Bulldog harriers are proving they listened.

The boys team placed fifth Saturday at the New Balance Classic in Loveland, showing Trapp they strive for improvement, as well.

"We (the boys team) had a great finish," Trapp said. "Our top-two are really strong, Alfredo (Lebron) and Cory (Wojtkiewicz) are working hard at pushing each other, and Jarred Blevins ran one minute faster than he has his whole life."

The top two Trapp mentioned are Chris Zirkle and Colt Criswell. Zirkle placed 18th individually, finishing the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, 53 seconds.

Criswell finished 5 spots behind Zirkle, placing 23rd in 18:12.

Wojtkiewicz placed 33rd (18:47), Lebron 34th (18:47) and Blevins rounded out MCHS' top-five in 19:38, placing 56th.

"They all ran faster times," Trapp said. "Colt (1:00), Cory (:20) and Kevin Murray (1:08) all dropped times. To see that these kids have improved is encouraging."

The girls failed to place as a team, but for a good reason.

Senior Alicia Nelson ran against 5A competition in the Division I heat, while the rest of the team - boys and girls - raced in Division II.

Nelson finished third in her heat, clocking in with a time of 18:58.

"She ran against the top girls in the state," Trapp said. "We needed to get her into hard races so she can feel out what the competition is going to be like at state."

Nelson's time would have won the girls Division II race.

But, sophomore Maddy Jourgensen represented the Bulldogs well in the girls' second go-around.

Jourgensen placed second in 19:30, followed by Nike Cleverly (23rd - 21:52), Meghan Knez (68th - 24:01) and Laura Zirkle (92nd - 26:42).

"I'm super happy with the way Maddy ran," Trapp said. "Her time was actually 20 seconds faster than Alicia ran on the same course last year. But, really, all the girls did well."

The Bulldogs visit the Dawson Invitational on Thursday in the team's final regular season meet of the year.

State regionals begin Oct. 18.

"We are cutting back a bit," Trap said of the team's end-of-the-season work- out routine, "but, we are still working hard."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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