Christensen paces team at state |

Christensen paces team at state

Bruce Tippets

Heading into the Class 4A state cross country meet everybody on the Western Slope knew Moffat County High School varsity runner Kelly Christensen had a chance to finish near the top.

They were right. Christensen, a senior, crossed the line in fourth place Saturday in Englewood, Colo. with a time of 16 minutes and 19 seconds.

“Kelly ran a really great race. There was no one close to fifth place,” said coach Mike Gleason. “He tried to get third place, but he just didn’t get there and he had a great season.”

Troy Hernandez of Brighton was first (15:44). Jared Scott of Lewis-Palmer came in second place (16:00) and Danny Nohava of Harrison finished in third place (16:13).

“The fastest time in the state was in Class 4A at 15:44,” said Gleason. “Kelly ran the eighth fastest time in the state if you put all the classifications together. That’s really a great performance.”

Bulldogs runner Colton Grinholds, a sophomore, was the only other boys runner to finish in the top 100 and he came in 99th (18:32).

“I think that Colton will be an outstanding runner,” said Gleason. “He needs to put some more miles in the offseason. We look for good things from him.”

As a team the boys finished in 19th place with 536 points. Mullen won the team title with 109 points and Lewis-Palmer finished in second place with 140 points.

“We had two guys go down because of injures in Brynt Mitchell and Brett Duncan,” said Gleason. “Brett has been fighting a stress fracture he has had all year long. He did miss one meet earlier in the year and we thought we had it fixed. He ran on it and it snapped on him. He ended up breaking his foot.”

For the girls, Stephanie Hurd, a junior, led the way as she crossed the line in 17th place (20:35). Sheila McNicol, a freshman, finished in 38th place (21:11). Beth White, a sophomore, came in 53rd place (21:26) and Danielle Brown ended up in 79th place (21:53).

“We ended up having a three-hour layover on Rabbit Ears pass. It took us eight hours to get to Denver. That really hurt all of our performances,” said Gleason. “The girls ran like they were tired from having a long trip. The girls aren’t happy with the way they performed. They still ran hard.”

In the team standings, the Bulldogs ended up in eighth place with 308 points. Mullen captured first place with 64 points and CaCity came in a distant second with 157 points.

“I have all the girls coming back,” said Gleason. “That will make the girls hungry for next year.”