Moffat County cross country ranks highly at regionals to step their way to state | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County cross country ranks highly at regionals to step their way to state

Moffat County High School runner Wyatt Mortenson comes up on the finish line at the 3A Region 1 Meet in El Jebel.
Kelsey Bruner/Aspen Times

The crisp autumn conditions Moffat County High School distance runners have come to expect were a little more intense Friday as the Bulldog cross country teams hit the regional course.

MCHS will be back at the state championships in the coming week after both boys and girls groups placed third at the 3A Region 1 Meet in El Jebel.

A cool, slightly wet morning greeted harriers at Crown Mountain Park, as Bulldogs readied to make their mark on a course wholly new to them.

Moffat County High School runner Coltyn Terry guts it out during the 3A Region 1 Meet in El Jebel.
Kelsey Bruner/Aspen Times

Wyatt Mortenson was 30 seconds faster than his time at last season’s regional event in Aspen, taking the bronze individually for the second consecutive year, finishing at 16:40.7 behind Gunnison’s Alex Baca in first and Bayfield’s Elco Garcia in second, the Cowboys and Wolverines the top two boys teams, respectively.

Moffat County High School runner Keaton Knez competes with a pack of runners during the 3A Region 1 Meet in El Jebel.
Kelsey Bruner/Aspen Times
Moffat County High School cross country results from 3A Region 1 Meet

Boys

Wyatt Mortenson — 16:40.7; 3

Coltyn Terry — 17:34.6; 11

Keaton Knez — 17:40.3; 12

Kale Johnson — 18:10.4; 15

Ian Trevenen — 19:03.4; 29

Noah Mortenson — 19:43.8; 40

Alex Nichols — 20:18.3; 54

Wilson Eike — 20:21.7; 61

Garrett Mercer — 21:09.8; 73

Girls

Kelsey McDiffett — 20:07.4; 7

Halle Hamilton — 20:46.1; 16

Stephenie Swindler — 21:05.7; 19

Emma Jones — 21:09.9; 20

Alayna Behrman — 21:23.3; 23

Emaleigh Papierski — 21:48.8; 29

Bree Meats — 23:13.8; 38

Mackenzi Telford — 24:26.7; 51

Tiana Nichols — 26:14; 68

At 11th and 12th, Coltyn Terry and Keaton Knez were each more than a full minute faster than at 2018 regionals, clocking in at 17:34.6 and 17:40.3.

Terry said the site provided more of a challenge than he and teammates had expected despite a largely flat, straight terrain.

“It was freezing out there, and I know it was really tough on us because not all of us got what we wanted, but we ran with all our hearts,” he said. “We wanted to be regional champs, but it’s something we’ll have to push for at state and for our senior year.”

Kale Johnson ran 18:10.4 to place 15th, while Ian Trevenen took 29th at 19:03.4 to give the MoCo guys a tally of 70.

Noah Mortenson placed 40th, Alex Nichols 54th, Wilson Eike 61st and Garrett Mercer 73rd.

Moffat County High School girls cross country runners catch their breath at the close of the 3A Region 1 Meet in El Jebel.
Kelsey Bruner/Aspen Times

With a group score of 85, MCHS girls also were in the top three schools, behind hosting Basalt and Aspen, with the Longhorns’ Sierra Bower winning the day to defend her regional title, followed by the Skiers’ Kylie Kenny.

Kelsey McDiffett’s 20:07.4 gave her seventh place as she improved upon the 20:44.5 she ran at last year’s regional event.

Halle Hamilton followed at 16th (20:46.1), while Stephenie Swindler cut significant time from a week earlier, hitting a personal best 21:05.7 for 19th.

“I think that was just because I was trying to get out faster,” Swindler said of her strong finish. “I was trying to get ahead of everybody.”

Emma Jones was hot on her teammate’s heels for 21:09.9 to round out the race’s top 20, and Alayna Behrman’s 21:23.3 earned her 23rd for the Bulldogs’ point count.

Emaleigh Papierski ranked 29th, Bree Meats 38th, Mackenzi Telford 51st, and Tiana Nichols 68th.

Bulldog teams will next run at the 3A CHSAA State Championships Oct. 26 at Colorado Springs’ Norris Penrose Event Center.