The Moffat County boys and girls cross-country teams show their school pride following last week’s 4A Region 5 meet in Cortez. Both teams placed first overall, and included individual winners in Chris Zirkle and Maddy Jourgensen. The runners will go on to the state tournament Saturday in Cherry Creek.

Christine Adams/Courtesy

The Moffat County boys and girls cross-country teams show their school pride following last week’s 4A Region 5 meet in Cortez. Both teams placed first overall, and included individual winners in Chris Zirkle and Maddy Jourgensen. The runners will go on to the state tournament Saturday in Cherry Creek.

MCHS runners ready for state competition

Top Times

Moffat County High School cross-country top individual times in 2010:

(Runner, Time)

Boys

Chris Zirkle 15:52

Alfredo Lebron 15:53

Rene Molina 17:17

Miguel Molina 17:22

Johnny Landa 17:31

Dale Nakai 17:56

Kye Adams 18:37

Jarred Blevins 18:40

Taft Cleverly 18:52

Matt Hulstine 19:13

Wyatt Villa 19:14

Girls

Maddy Jourgensen 18:59

Brenna Ciesco 19:46

Eryn Leonard 20:19

Nike Cleverly 21:07

Bailey Hellander 21:10

Sassy Murray 21:32

Savannah Williams 21:58

Kelly Ciesco 22:18

Jaycee McCoy 23:08

Jessie Suits 25:05

Emily Miller 30:44

Moffat County High School runner Miguel Molina was at the peak of his cross-country season three weeks ago.

He had posted his fastest time and was ready to continue strong.

However, he sustained an injury playing varsity football, which slowed him down.

Still, Molina said he’s prepared to finish the season on a high note.

“I’m feeling pretty good, but I’m a little nervous,” he said.

The boys and girls cross-country teams will compete Saturday in the state tournament in Cherry Creek. The teams will be made up of the same runners who took home first-place team finishes at the 4A Region 5 tournament in Cortez last week.

Molina is a last-minute addition to the lineup, running for the first time since he was injured playing wingback and cornerback in the football team’s Oct. 15 game against Battle Mountain.

“I just got cleared (Wednesday), so they’re letting me run,” Molina said.

Molina clocked in his best time of 17 minutes and 22 seconds at Englewood’s Oct. 9 Windjammer Invitational, finishing 19th. He has been one of the boys teams’ top runners, but he is concerned that going for so long without competing will have a negative impact on his performance at state.

“I hope to do better than I did at pre-state (Sept. 4), but I don’t know because I’ve been out for awhile,” he said.

Molina said playing football and running cross-country has been beneficial.

“It’s kept me in pretty good shape,” he said.

Molina said he wanted to focus on finishing in the top five within the boys team. The top five finishers on each team make up the team’s overall score.

For sophomore Sassy Murray, the focus for Saturday will be finishing strong as a team.

“I don’t know how good I’m going to do because it’s a hard course,” she said. “I’m going to stay close to Nike (Cleverly) and Bailey (Hellander).”

Murray said running in a pack formation allows the teammates to encourage each other.

“If someone falls behind, then you can push them to keep up with you and build each other up,” she said.

Murray finished 21st at regionals, fifth within the MCHS girls team. Both teams placed first at the Oct. 23 meet, with seniors Chris Zirkle and Maddy Jourgensen winning individually.

Murray said the win at regionals was an improvement over the girl’s second-place finish in 2009. She hopes the team’s momentum will carry over to the state level.

“I want to get top five. We got ninth last year,” she said. “Hopefully, we can just work as a team.”

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