Cross country teams remain near top |

Cross country teams remain near top

David Pressgrove

The Moffat County boys cross country team is still waiting for some respect in the state polls.

“It’s a little frustrating that we’re not ranked when teams we’ve beat are in the top ten,” said senior Bryce Ellgen. “But were not worried because the rankings mean nothing and we’ll see how accurate they are when state rolls around.”

As the boys and girls team travel to Vernal, Ut. today the boys are still a little perplexed how they aren’t ranked after their last performance.

Friday at the Liberty Bell Invitational meet in Denver the boys team took fifth and the girls took second in the Division 3 race, a race for mostly 4A schools. While the boys finished behind fourth ranked Evergreen, seventh ranked Conifer and ninth ranked Mullen, they finished ahead of third ranked Glenwood Springs and 10th ranked Falcon. The girls, who are currently ranked fourth, finished twenty points behind second ranked Mullen.

“The guys are definitely a top ten team in the state,” said head coach Dustin Ence. “We showed that this weekend and we’ll continue to do so the rest of the season but the rankings aren’t that important.”

Ence said he was impressed with the time improvements from the same meet last year from his boys team. The top three runners for the team, Ellgen, junior Anthony Loughran and senior Tim Bailey shaved at least two minutes off last year’s time. The fourth and fifth finishers for the Bulldogs, juniors Justin Ellgen and Drew Lyon, are in their first seasons of cross country so they had no time to compare. Overall the fifth place result was nine places ahead of last year’s team with Bryce ninth, Loughran 12th, Bailey 34th , Justin 36th and Lyon 52nd.

“The improvement from meet to meet has been outstanding for us thus far,” said Ence. “The team is gaining confidence and we’re starting to run together a little more.”

In the girls race three seniors continued to keep the Bulldogs one of the top squads in the state. Danielle Brown finished third for the third time this season while Laurel Mortensen was fifth and Sheila McNicol just missed the top ten in 11th. Junior Bird and sophomore Angela Nelson continued to get closer to the senior group placing 25th and 29th respectively.

“We were 20 points from Mullen compared to 60 the first weekend we raced them,” said Ence. “If our top three stay strong and the fourth and firth runners continue to improve it is going to be an interesting team race between Mullen, us and Lewis-Palmer when state rolls around.”

Looking to the short term the Bulldog harriers have their only two-meet week of the season this week with a meet today and Saturday. Ence said the shortened week will provide the team with an opportunity to approach one of the races different than usual.

“We’re going to experiment a little at the Vernal meet,” he said. “We’re going to get the younger runners to run with the top runners as long as they can in order to give them some confidence.”

On Saturday the teams will travel to Rifle to run against many of the Western Slope teams including state ranked Glenwood and Montrose on the boys side.

“Saturday should be a good chance for us to see our regional teams,” Ence said. “Running on the front range three out of four races hasn’t given us much of a chance to see them.”

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