Moffat County runners off to the races; golfers see back-to-back tourneys; rodeo revving up
As fall sports season continues for Moffat County High School, athletes are getting competitive on the road as well as close to home.
The first race of the fall is in the books for MCHS cross country teams, and Bulldog runners are off to a solid start.
The Central Warrior Matchett Park Meet in Grand Junction treated MoCo harriers well as they got back on the trail for the first time in what’s felt like ages.
With organizers working with new regulations, the meet involved two separate races across Friday and Saturday, each featuring two waves of 25 per day for boys and girls races.
With both Bulldog groups among the Friday bunch, Hayden senior Keaton Knez hit a mark of fourth place and 18:07 to start the season for the boys as the team took third overall in the Friday results.
Hayden junior Kale Johnson took 13th at 20:09.1, while in his first distance race back since his freshman year, MoCo junior Logan Hafey clocked in at 20:49.7 for 21st.
Freshman Owen Gifford stayed high in the ranks at 26th for 21:28.1, followed by Hayden senior Andrew Kleckler at 22:18.6 for 34th to round out the team totals
Returning MCHS runners Ian Trevenen and Carter Behrman placed 37th and 42nd, respectively.
Battle Mountain won both the Friday races individually and as a group, with Husky girls filling up each of the top four slots as part of a 19-point day.
However, at second place in teams, Moffat County girls had the best split among top five runners by far at 2:58 during the Friday portion.
Junior Halle Hamilton led it off with sixth place at 21:26.8, closely followed by senior Kelsey McDiffett in seventh at 21:44.4 and junior Emma Jones closing the top 10 at 22:48.1.
Freshman Antonia Vasquez took 12th for 23:56.8, with junior Bree Meats 13th for 24:25.4 to complete the group effort.
Seniors Alayna Behrman and Tiana Nichols stayed in the top half of the field rankings at 15th and 21, and in their first high school running event, freshmen Joslyn Bacon, Megan Neton and Brook Wheeler placed 28, 30 and 37 to make their mark early in the season.
Besides the unusual two-day stretch, MCHS coach Todd Trapp said the hot, smoky climate made for tough conditions for everyone, with his runners nonetheless shining.
MCHS varsity runners will be back in the Grand Junction area this weekend, with JV competing on Friday.
“We’re going to keep training and get ready for our meets,” Trapp said.
Moffat County High School cross country results at Warrior Matchett Park
Runner Time; Place
Halle Hamilton 21:26.8; 6
Kelsey McDiffett 21:44.4; 7
Emma Jones 22:48.1; 10
Antonia Vasquez 23:56.8; 12
Bree Meats 24:25.4; 13
Alayna Behrman 24:48.1; 15
Tiana Nichols 26:58.9; 21
Joslyn Bacon 29:14.8; 28
Megan Neton 30:14.0; 30
Brook Wheeler 31:51.1; 37
Keaton Knez 18:07; 4
Kale Johnson 20:09.1; 13
Logan Hafey 20:49.7; 21
Owen Gifford 21:28.1; 26
Andrew Kleckler 22:18.6; 34
Ian Trevenen 22:49.8; 37
Carter Behrman 24:41.4; 42
Join the club
Bulldog golfers were in the thick of things for two days this week, playing at the Eagle Valley Invitational Monday and the Rifle Invite Tuesday.
Taking the long road to Eagle Ranch Golf Course to avoid interstate closures, the Dogs were seeing lower scores left and right compared to the previous week at Battlement Mesa.
Tying for 18th place, Dave Andujo brought his total to 87, while Tanner Etzler stayed steady at 93 and 25th .
After being in triple digits a few days earlier, Tyler Burkett and Ryan Peck both cut down on strokes for scores of 95 and 99 apiece, whereas Aron Jennings struggled with a 114 for the day.
“That’s a tough golf course,” coach Tim Adams said of Eagle Ranch.
Though Moffat County placed last among a smaller pool of teams Monday, Tuesday saw them 11th of 15 schools at Rifle Creek.
Andujo narrowed his total down to an 86 in a four-way tie at 22nd place, with Etzler’s results remaining at 93. Rifle’s back nine was rough for Burkett and Peck, who shot 103 and 111, while Jennings withdrew Tuesday.
“Dave and Tanner are both pretty familiar with that Rifle course by now,” Adams said. “That back nine at Rifle is very hilly, and you go up into that canyon. Different kids respond differently.”
Adams said “consistency” is the keyword as he anticipates how players progress. For Andujo, Adams hopes to see him keep scores in the low 80s, Etzler breaking 90 or better, and Burkett and Peck staying beneath the 100 mark.
Now that each of them has met those expectations at least once, the goal is to keep hitting that time after time and ostensibly keep growing in their knowledge of the game.
“I’d like to see them do that no matter where we’re playing to have a decent shot at state,” Adams said.
MoCo golf will shoot Tuesday, Sept. 1 at Grand Junction’s Tiara Rado followed by hosting duty for a junior varsity tournament the next day at Yampa Valley Golf Course.
“Right now that’s just going to be us, Meeker and Steamboat, then Steamboat will reciprocate and have an event on the 16th for JV kids to get some more opportunities,” Adams said.
The Sailors’ varsity event will be Sept. 8, followed by the MCHS home tournament Sept. 9 at YVGC for both varsity and JV teams.
The week after that will be a road trip to Aspen and Vail, with the regional tourney at Basalt’s River Valley Ranch looming later in the month.
Ready to rope
With the spring season of Colorado State High School Rodeo Association virtually wiped out, cowboys and cowgirls in the Centennial State are more than raring to get back in the arena on a regular basis.
And they’ll be starting that circuit in Craig this weekend.
CSHSRA’s fall season will kick off Friday at Moffat County Fairgrounds as high school and junior high rodeo start anew.
Junior high runs will take place at 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday with high school events at 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.
Cutting and reined cow horse events begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Moffat County Road 35, and rifle rounds will begin Friday evening at Bears Ears Sportsman Club on Moffat County Road 7.
Rodeo events for the weekend include bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback, team roping, tie down, ribbon roping, steer wrestling, pole bending, barrel racing, goat tying, and ribbon roping.
Crowd admission is free, and general social distancing guidelines are advised.
For more information, call 970-756-6655 or 970-629-5170.
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