MCHS cross country sweeps top 3 positions in Grand Junction |

MCHS cross country sweeps top 3 positions in Grand Junction

Ben Bulkeley

Moffat County High School cross country runners Chris Zirkle, left, and Alfredo Lebron run Friday during the Warrior Invitational in Grand Junction. Zirkle and Lebron finished first and second, respectively, to give the Bulldogs a first-place team finish.

Although the meet may have been smaller, the results were the same for the Moffat County High School cross country team.

Running Friday at Grand Junction Central's Warrior Invitational, the boys team finished first overall with four of its runners placing in the top 10, while the girls finished second, also with four top-10 finishers.

"It was a good meet," head coach Todd Trapp said. "So many kids improved on their times from a year ago.

"They cut one, two, three minutes off their time from last year."

Almost as soon as Hayden High School senior and Moffat County High School runner Chris Zirkle ran across the line, he had company.

Juniors Alfredo Lebron and Johnny Landa finished second and third, respectively, to give the Bulldogs a potent 1-2-3 punch.

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It was also Landa's first race of the year.

"I thought he ran well — he got into a battle for the last 400 yards," Trapp said. "It was his first race, and he was only 45 seconds behind Chris and Alfredo."

But, the trio wasn't alone.

Junior Miguel Molina finished sixth, junior Rene Molina 11th, junior Dale Nakai 12th, junior Wyatt Villa 15th, senior Jarred Blevins 17th, freshman Taft Cleverly 22nd, senior Kye Adams 25th and sophomore Matt Hulstine 29th.

The boys squad finished with a mere 23 points. Fruita-Monument, which finished second at the meet, had 41 points. Grand Junction High School was third and Hotchkiss was fourth.

"That is one thing we have talked about," Trapp said. "We know our top two will be solid, but we want to work on our pack.

"I think (Friday) we saw them make significant improvement."

The girls team was again without top runner Maddy Jourgensen, who was held out with an injury.

But, in the senior's place, a number of underclassmen filled the void.

Sophomore Eryn Leonard raced across the course in 20 minutes and 55 seconds — second behind only Hotchkiss freshman Natalie Anderson, who completed the course in 19 minutes and 46 seconds.

As it was with the boys, Leonard didn't have to wait long for her teammates to show up.

Sophomore Bailey Hellander finished fifth overall, freshman Brenna Ciesco sixth, sophomore Sassy Murray 10th, senior Nike Cleverly 11th, junior Kelly Ciesco 17th and Hayden High School sophomore Savannah Williams 18th.

Sophomore Rose Howe finished 31st, freshman Jessie Suits 35th, sophomore Jaycee McCoy 43rd and senior Emily Miller 59th.

The team had to rely on its underclassmen, who didn't disappoint, Trapp said.

"I'm proud of what the girls have been able to do," Trapp said. "Even without Maddy, they were able to get a second-place finish.

"We are starting to know where we are, and I think we are headed in the right direction."

Individual MCHS cross country results from Friday’s Warrior Invitational at Grand Junction Central High School:


(Name, Time, Place)

Chris Zirkle, 16:45, 1

Alfredo Lebron, 16:46, 2

Johnny Landa, 17:31, 3

Miguel Molina, 18:01, 6

Rene Molina, 18:25, 11

Dale Nakai, 18:27, 12

Wyatt Villa , 19:14, 15

Jarred Blevins, 19:20, 17

Taft Cleverly, 19:34, 22

Kye Adams, 19:54, 25

Matt Hulstine, 20:11, 29

Team standings, boys:

(Team Points)

  1. Moffat County, 23

  2. Fruita-Monument, 41

  3. Grand Junction, 83

  4. Hotchkiss, 95


(Name, Time, Place)

Eryn Leonard, 20:55, 2

Bailey Hellander, 21:10, 5

Brenna Ciesco, 21:14, 6

Sassy Murray, 21:51, 10

Nike Cleverly, 21:57, 11

Kelly Ciesco, 23:16, 17

Savannah Williams, 23:21, 18

Rose Howe, 24:51, 31

Jessie Suits, 25:27, 35

Jaycee McCoy, 26:26, 43

Emily Miller, 31:52, 59

Team standings, girls:

  1. Hotchkiss, 29

  2. Moffat County, 34

  3. Fruita-Monument, 74

  4. Grand Junction, 109

  5. Grand Junction Central, 122

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