Finish strong: Craig Middle School cross country concludes season 2nd at Moffat County Invite | CraigDailyPress.com

Finish strong: Craig Middle School cross country concludes season 2nd at Moffat County Invite

Craig Middle School cross country runners take off from the starting line at Loudy-Simpson Park.
Andy Bockelman

The fall has flown by for the members of Craig Middle School cross country, but the Bulldogs were able to end the season on familiar ground.

With a big bunch of runners in their final race of the schedule, CMS finished strong to claim second place in combined team scores at Saturday’s Moffat County Invitational at Loudy-Simpson Park, with Owen Gifford the quickest among CMS boys in third, Megan Neton leading girls in eighth.

Hudson Jones, Logan Silva and Brodie Wooden finished in slots nine through 11 among boys, with Carson Laehr 13th for a score of 46 for the Bulldogs, while Isabella Vanzo and Ariana Buchanan were ninth and 10th among girls, Joslyn Bacon 12th and Alyssa LeWarne 15th.

Gifford noted that he was working throughout the race to keep pace with Steamboat Springs’ Grey Barbier and Curtis Zanni — a massive Sailor squad winning it individually and in team totals — and though he took the bronze, he was pleased with some of the adjustments he’s made this year.

“I think my starts have really improved,” he said.

As the first of the CMS girls to complete the course, Megan was slightly outpaced by her younger brother, Patrick, whom she helped prepare for the season during the summer.

“Yeah, he beat me, but that’s OK,” she said.

Craig Middle School cross country — Moffat County Invite results

Boys

Owen Gifford — 14:40.18; 3

Hudson Jones — 15:40.5; 9

Logan Silva — 15:48.82; 10

Brodie Wooden — 15:51.11; 11

Carson Laehr — 15:53.79; 13

Noah Beason — 16:09; 17

Patrick Neton — 16:37.62; 19

Logan Reidhead — 16:53.2; 24

Santiago Quezada — 18:31.82; 41

Karson Fedinec — 18:34.01; 42

Wyatt Tucker — 18:59.99; 43

Travis LeFevre — 19:14.42; 45

Milo Gifford — 19:45.12; 53

Girls

Megan Neton — 17:18.25; 8

Isabella Vanzo — 17:50.81; 9

Ariana Buchanan — 17:57.25; 10

Joslyn Bacon — 18:17.11; 12

Alyssa LeWarne — 18:36.01; 15

Hannah Kilpatrick — 18:36.82; 17

Brook Wheeler — 18:54.59; 20

Alexis Noland — 19:19.67; 28

Lindsey Brown — 19:25.67; 29

Nashaly Medina — 21:59.9; 37

Avrial Hankins — 22:01.9; 38

Joslyn Price — 22:01.95; 39

Nancy Nunez-Verdugo — 22:03.93; 40

Jazlin Quezada — 27:52.57; 54

— The combined CMS team placed second overall.

In his first year in distance running, Patrick said the Loudy course — a 3K for middle school ages — was a little more than he expected.

“It was longer, so it was a little more tiring for me,” he said.

Brook Wheeler said she was attempting to stay in step with Megan, though she was nursing an ongoing war wound.

“I was with her through the Nature Trail and twisted my ankle in there, and kind of fell behind a little bit. It was already hurting, but that kind of added to it,” she said.

Wheeler added that even with all the difficulties, she’s loved the season.

“That feeling when you get done, it’s a hard to thing to do, so you feel like you really accomplished something,” she said.

The new CMS coaching staff for the fall includes Maddy Jourgensen, Elizabeth Tucker and Brad Reidhead.

Jourgensen said she took on the position to pay it forward after her successes with MCHS cross country and track and field under Todd Trapp.

“It’s been really fun, the kids have been doing so well, and it’s been great to teach like Trapp taught me,” she said. “They’ve done phenomenal, and I know a lot of them are doing so much better than they were at the beginning of the season.”