Moffat County cross country finds footing early in season
Running at Connected Lakes State Park on Saturday, Sept. 10, Moffat County cross country athletes were feeling good at home in a natural setting, and their contentment showed in the results.
Both Bulldog running teams placed seventh during the Grand Junction Tiger Invitational over the weekend, with the majority of the Bulldogs reaching new personal bests, either for the fall or altogether.
Junior Owen Gifford led the MoCo boys, placing 17th amid a field of 86. His 18 minute, 10 second time was his best this season, though his best placement came in the season opener hosted by Basalt, where he ranked third.
However, Gifford said his greater focus is on the time, and he seeks to be at least a minute quicker to break the 17:24 personal record he hit last year.
“I really want to get that PR,” he said. “That’s all I’m trying to do right now.”
Ian Trevenen took 27th at 18:29.8, while fellow senior Boden Reidhead kept pace with Gifford early in the 5K race but finished 29th at 18:41.
Reidhead noted the variety of terrain at Connected Lakes presented a challenge, especially the paved portions, though much of it was similar to the Dogs’ usual running routes in Craig.
“It really destroyed my spikes on the sidewalk, but the shade parts were nice, and it was pretty flat,” he said. ”It was pretty good, faster than last week. I felt confident staying with Owen the first two miles, but that last one just killed me.”
Senior Garrett Mercer and freshman Karson Fedinec both cut down their best times, as they took 64th and 65th at 21:06 and 21:23, respectively, with sophomore Travis LeFevre in 74th at 22:19.
The same six boys also ran this week in Vernal, Utah, at the Uintah Invite, which was a 3-mile course rather than the full 5K, so the out-of-state event served as a warmup for Saturday.
Junior Brook Wheeler again was the first Lady Bulldog to cross the finish line, placing 23rd of 58 in the girls race at a season-best 22:58, cutting nearly a minute from her time in Basalt and coming close to her 22:39 personal record set last fall.
While not all the same girls who competed in Vernal ran Saturday, sophomore Josefina Kuberry hit a personal record of 24:05 to place 32nd, just steps ahead of teammate Joslyn Bacon at 24:07 in 33rd.
Sophomores Alyssa LeWarne (24:58) and Hannah Kilpatrick (27:19) each achieved the best times of their career to place 39th and 53rd.
“It was kind of an easy race; it felt a lot shorter,” LeWarne said. “It was really hot today, but cooler since it was in the morning. I think everybody was doing some of their best.”
Kilpatrick was unable to run the full season last year due to injury but is feeling confident coming back to the sport.
“The end was nice there, and I felt like I did really well, plus I got my lifetime best,” she said.
MCHS cross country will run at the St. Vrain Invite in Lyons this weekend, followed by the Moffat County Invite on Sept. 24 at Loudy-Simpson Park.
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