With the season winding down, the Moffat County High School cross-country team has not let up in its quest for the finish line.
The MCHS boys and girls teams finished strong at a Saturday meet in Englewood, the Windjammer Invitational, a large-scale meet which saw attendance from more than 20 teams across the state.
But, the size of the meet did not encumber the MCHS runners, who paced themselves by keeping in step with their standing times, ranking third overall in boys varsity, sixth in girls varsity and seventh in girls junior varsity.
Senior Chris Zirkle and junior Alfredo Lebron placed first and second, respectively, for the fifth meet in a row in the boys varsity race, with times of 16 minutes and one second, and 16 minutes and three seconds, respectively.
Senior Maddy Jourgensen took home second place, seconds away from top girls varsity runner, Colleen Koenig of Arapahoe, at 18 minutes, 59 seconds. Sophomore Eryn Leonard placed first in the girls junior varsity event, at 20 minutes, 43 seconds.
In the boys’ race, Junior Miguel Molina finished 19th, junior Rene Molina 32nd, senior Jarred Blevins 77th, senior Kye Adams 80th and junior Dale Nakai 107th.
Nakai, one of the team’s high-ranking runners, was nursing an injury during the meet, resulting in a slower time than he was used to in previous competitions.
“It put my attitude a little bit lower,” Nakai said.
Nakai said he hopes to perform well at the upcoming regional tournament. Coach Todd Trapp said he was pleased with his runner’s time at Englewood.
“He didn’t race the weekend before, and I thought he had a pretty good race, considering he was coming back from not running for a couple weeks,” Trapp said.
Freshman Taft Cleverly was the lone representative for the boys in the junior varsity race, placing 20th.
In the girls varsity race, freshman Brenna Ciesco came in 11th, senior Nike Cleverly 36th, sophomore Sassy Murray 54th, sophomore Bailey Hellander 55th, junior Kelly Ciesco 73rd and Hayden High School sophomore Savannah Williams 78th.
In the girls JV race, sophomore Rose Howe finished 16th, sophomore Jaycee McCoy 27th, freshman Jessie Suits 88th and senior Emily Miller 220th.
“I think our kids are excited with how they finished,” Trapp said. “Happy, but, of course, they’re not satisfied.”
Trapp said his team will strive throughout the week to keep up their high standards for a Thursday afternoon meet at Rifle, the last regular cross-country event before the regional tournament at Montezuma-Cortez.
“There’s no reason not to believe we can’t keep running well and continue the success we’ve had so far,” Trapp said.