Home meet helps spike performance for Moffat County XC runners | CraigDailyPress.com

Home meet helps spike performance for Moffat County XC runners

Moffat County cross country runners Nancy Nunez and Bella Simones descend the high terrain at the Moffat County Invite Sept. 24 at Loudy-Simpson Park.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

A crowd of people lined the final few hundred feet of the Moffat County Invitational on Saturday morning, Sept. 24, at Loudy-Simpson Park, cheering as Bulldogs runners crossed the finish line one after another. In the end, Moffat County took third among boys teams and fifth for the girls in the first of two home races this season.

Boisterous boys

MCHS boys had two runners in the top 10 as junior Owen Gifford clocked in at 18:15 for fourth place and senior Boden Reidhead was less than 10 seconds behind at 18:24 for eighth.

It was a fine finish in front of family and friends, Reidhead said, even if it wasn’t his fastest time yet.

“For this course, I would say it was good, but we’ll get some better times next week,” he said.

MoCo runners rarely expect Loudy-Simpson to give them their best times with the park’s hilly southern boundary.

“We came out and practiced yesterday, and knowing the course helps us know where to pick it up,” Reidhead said.

Senior Ian Trevenen placed 13th, with junior Carson Laehr and senior Garrett Mercer rounding out the varsity boys scores at 40th and 41st, respectively. Mercer was just glad to be in the mix.

“I didn’t get to run it last year,” he said. “Everyone got COVID and I got quarantined at home.”

Mercer said that while he’s not routinely at the head of the pack, he takes pride in his ability to keep running for long periods.

“I enjoy the fact that I have a lot of people who talk about how much faster they are than I am,” he said. “There’s a point that they are, like at 100 meters. I cannot sprint, not a fast runner for a short distance. But, the other day we ran about 10-and-a-half miles in just under an hour and 45 minutes, so I can run far at that pace. I enjoy that I’ve been able to get better every year in being able to do that.”

Finding the motivation

With junior Brook Wheeler taking time off to heal, the Moffat County girls had a smaller lineup, and sophomores Josefina Kuberry and Alyssa LeWarne led the group, finishing with Kuberry in 21st (24:09.4) and LeWarne in 22nd (24:09.6).

The two agreed the shady segment at the start of the race — partly due to plenty of foliage — was the most enjoyable part of the morning.

“The nature trail, that part feels really fast, in that first mile. The last mile isn’t too bad either,” Kuberry said. “Probably the middle was the hardest. Even before the hill, the middle is the worst.”

Junior Joslyn Bacon placed 29th, freshman Camila Nunez was 32nd and sophomore Hannah Kilpatrick was 42nd to complete the team score.

Bella Simones, a Hayden senior in her second year running for Moffat County, said she felt the extra incentive to finish strong with people near the finish line, particularly the Bulldog spirit team.

“It’s a big boost when everyone’s screaming, and I wasn’t expecting all the cheerleaders to be lined up at the end there,” she said. “I feel like I could have done better. It’s the home meet, so I really wanted to do my best.”

Up and coming

The Moffat County Invite served as the final event of the season for Craig Middle School cross country, which was the runner-up behind Steamboat Springs for boys and girls.

Eighth-grader Zach Womble took silver in the boys 3K race at 13:21, with sixth-grader Jonas Pressgrove close behind in third (13:41.6).

Seventh-grader Janelle Tarango led CMS girls in seventh place (15:57.2), while sixth-grader Olivia Knez earned 11th place (17:21.3).

Final stretch

With less than a month to go until the cross country season ends — including another home meet, the Whistle Pig Invite, at Yampa Valley Golf Course — the eldest members of the Bulldog running program are already feeling the sense of finality.

Reidhead said Saturday came with mixed feelings about the course and the last competition he’s run there.

“I’ll miss the course, but not the hill,” he said.

For Mercer, he’ll most miss the travel of the sport.

“I enjoyed the overnight trips, being able to go on the bus ride with your friends, stay in a hotel. It’s better than just leaving the high school at 4:45 in the morning,” he said.

Besides forming a bond with her teammates, Simones said she’s found this fall all the more inspiring as an athlete.

“I think I’ve really improved on my mindset. Before it was kinda hard for me to push at the end or at the middle, but now I feel like I have more motivation being I’m a senior because it’s my last season,” she said.

Moffat County Cross Country Invitational

Moffat County High School 5K

Boys — 4. Owen Gifford, 18:15; 8. Boden Reidhead, 18:24; 13. Ian Trevenen, 18:55; 40. Carson Laehr, 21:21; 41. Garrett Mercer,  21:22; 44. Karson Fedinec, 21:36; 54. Travis LeFevre, 22:24.

Girls — 21. Josefina Kuberry, 24:09; 22. Alyssa LeWarne, 24:09; 29. Joslyn Bacon, 24:40; 32. Camila Nunez, 24:53; 42. Hannah Kilpatrick, 26:52; 44. Bella Simones, 27:12; 47. Nancy Nunez, 27:24.

Craig Middle School 3K

Boys — 2. Zach Womble, 13:21; 3. Jonas Pressgrove, 13:41; 9. Kurtis Kuberry, 14:38; 14. Oliver Browning, 15:23; 18. Will Tucker, 15:35; 20. Daniel Gomez, 15:45; 21. Ryun Pressgrove, 16:03; 32. Isaiah Thomas,  17:38; 40. Noah Bohne, 27:17.

Girls — 7. Janelle Tarango, 15:57; 11. Olivia Knez, 17:21; 18. Tinslei Preston, 19:08; 22. Layla Bolton, 20:16; 26. Olivia Bohne, 21:17; 27. Josie Terry, 22:18; 28. Aberdeen Anderson, 22:39; 29. Gabby Quezada — 23:41; 32. Raelynn Merwin, 32:06.

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