Seniors lead the way for Bulldogs at state cross country |

Seniors lead the way for Bulldogs at state cross country

David Pressgrove / For Craig Press
A Moffat County coach addresses the boys team at the conclusion of the 3A championship race at the Norris Penrose Event Center on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Shelby Reardon / For Craig Press

Seniors led the way for Moffat County High School at the 2020 State Cross Country Meet in Colorado Springs on Saturday as the girls team finished tied for 10th and the boys ended up in 13th. 

“We had some great seniors that got the opportunity to end their HS careers at the state meet,” head coach Todd Trapp said. “That is a very exciting opportunity for them.” For the boys, senior Keaton Knez finished his career by leading the way in 49th place with a time of 18 minutes, 24 seconds for the 5k race. Unlike the last month of races, where Knez usually had a couple of teammates close to him, the boys’ had a sizeable gap after their lead runner. Coming in as the second Bulldog was freshman Owen Gifford, who traversed the course in 19:04.7 and was in 66th place. Gifford improved more than 90 seconds from previously running the state course in mid-september, which was a highlight for the boys team. 

After Gifford was junior Carter Behrman, who improved enough throughout the season that he was not on varsity when they first ran the state course. He finished in 73rd in 19:31.9. Following Berhman ws junior Kale Johnson in 77th (19:40.2), junior Logan Hafey in 79th (19:46.5) and sophomore Boden Reidhead in 92nd (20:29.9). 

The boys scored 299 points and were 13th out of 15 teams that qualified. Other regional qualifiers Alamosa and Gunnison were fourth and fifth respectively, and regional champ, Gunnison’s Alex Baca, was also the state champion. 

For the girls senior Kelsey McDiffett capped her four-year effort in 40th place in a time of 21:26. The difference in team placings was the ability for the top girls to stay together. McDiffett was 14 seconds ahead of junior Halle Hamilton (44th place) and 22 seconds in front of Emma Jones in 46th. Junior Bree Meats and senior Alayna Behrman ran close together with Meats finishing 74th in 23:11 and Behrman in 76th in 23:21. Rounding out the girls’ effort was senior Tiana Nichols in her first state meet in 90th (24:40).

The girls finished tied with Salida for 10th while regional competitors Basalt and Aspen finishing third and fourth respectively. One of the biggest individual surprises of all races was Basalt’s Katelyn Maley winning the race, instead of her teammate Sierra Bower, who was the defending champion and favorite, and instead finished fifth. 

“Our kids worked super hard this season to get to the state meet,” Trapp said. “And we are proud of them for their accomplishments in a shortened season and how much they were able to improve with limited time and training.”

Other note: Moffat County High School alum Kelly Christiansen added more awards to his stellar coaching career. His Niwot boys and girls teams were both team champions in Class 4A. 

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