MCHS runners showing improvement

Warrior Cross Country Invitational girls varsity results

Eryn Leonard—20:52—fourth

Brenna Ciesco—21:59—12th

Ary Schaffer—22:30—15th

Savannah Williams—22:47—20th

Katelyn Peroulis—22:54—23rd

Aubrey Campbell—22:56—25th

Two meets into the season, there have not been many surprises for the Moffat County cross-country runners.

The girls team has been as good as advertised, taking a pair of third-place finishes in the two meets so far.

In the first meet of the season, MCHS ran in the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede 2A/3A race, which consisted of 25 teams from across the state. They ran Friday at the Warrior Cross County Invitational hosted by Grand Junction Central High School at Long Family Memorial Park in Grand Junction.

Running against teams from 2A through 5A, the Bulldogs held their own, placing six runners in the top 25 of the varsity race.

“Our girls were right there, right in it, going against some of the 5A schools from Grand Junction and Hotchkiss, which is the top team in the state in 2A,” head coach Todd Trapp said. “Our girls team is making strides in the right direction.

Their team score of 74 (taken from the finishing places of the team’s first five runners) was good for third again, beating out teams from higher classifications like Delta High School and Fruita Monument High School.

Even better, every varsity runner on the girls team improved on their times from the CM Stampede to the Warrior Invitational.

Senior Eryn Leonard dropped almost 10 seconds and ran a 20:52 in the 5-kilometer race.

Other runners Brenna Ciesco, Savannah Williams, Aubrey Campbell and Katelyn Peroulis improved by more than 30 seconds. Freshman Ary Schaffer dropped over two minutes from the Stampede meet in the second race of her life.

She was surprised and pleased with the result.

“It was really surprising actually,” Shaffer said. “I didn’t know how I was going to do. It’s nice to have upperclassmen help support me and give me motivation. I had a little bit more confidence (this week). I knew I could do better than I did the week before If I just kept up with my teammates.”

Some of that time dropped is a product of the Stampede course being one of the state’s toughest. But it doesn’t account for the significant improvements made by the Bulldogs, Trapp said.

“The courses were way different, so we definitely imagined to see some time dropping, but not a minute and a half to two minutes faster,” Trapp said. “Definitely the kids made some improvements and found out how to push themselves a little more.”

For the boys team, it has been a slower start, as expected. After losing a varsity team stacked with seniors, their replacements consist of a group that mostly had never run a 5k coming into the year.

“Every single guy who ran varsity at (the first) meet, that was their first cross-country race ever,” Trapp said. “It was a huge field and they were a little bit shocked at the level of competition. They competed well and learned a lot from that meet.”

In week two, the boys varsity runners also dropped time. The meet in Grand Junction only produced top-25 individual results, but Trapp said each of the MCHS boys improved by over a minute.

“Our guys team was a little bit more aggressive (this week),” Trapp said. “They put themselves in better position and had some good performances. With our boys team it’s going to be a growing process the whole season because they’re so young. With two races under their belts, they’re going to continue making those big strides.”

The cross-country teams will have their next meet Friday, hosted by Heritage High School.

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports

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