Wilkins, Statler pace Bears at their home invitational
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado – Makayla Wilkins planned on juggling softball and cross country this fall. Then came a shoulder injury on the diamond.
“I was just throwing,” the Rifle senior said. “I got a ball at short and was throwing to first and I strained my rotator cuff, my pectoral and my trapezial.”
Not wanting to risk further injury, Wilkins decided to focus solely on cross country. And it’s a decision that’s paying off.
Wilkins nabbed sixth place at Thursday’s Rifle Invitational cross country meet, clocking in at 21 minutes, 32.69 seconds on a five-kilometer course at Deerfield Park.
The time, Wilkins’ second-best of the season, shows how far she’s come in her first foray into cross country.
“I was just coming out to run,” said Wilkins, who also competes in basketball and track and field for the Bears. “I never thought I’d be doing this good. All I’ve done before is sprints and middle distances. I’ve never done long distance.”
Wilkins helped the Rifle girls to a sixth-place team finish at their home meet, in which runners zig-zagged their way through the softball and baseball diamond-laden park. The course even featured a punishing uphill section.
Also finishing high for the Bears was Ashton Wilcox, whose time of 22:32.88 landed her 13th.
Jake Statler was Rifle’s first boy across the line. He timed in at 18:40.82 to place 10th.
The sophomore is new to the varsity team this season and has been regularly racking up high finishes. So what’s behind his ascent from a freshman campaign spent in the sub-varsity ranks?
“I’m just learning how to do it,” Statler said. “I [stopped] being a baby and just fought through the pain. … You just want to keep getting better. You always want to hear your name called when they’re giving out medals.”
Junior teammate Andrew Proebstle finished right behind Statler in 11th place, recording a time of 18:44.93. The Bears wound up fourth in the boys team standings.
Jenna Brown’s 20:59.72 run in the girls race netted her a silver finish in Rifle on Thursday. Glenwood Springs teammates McKenzie Hill (fourth, 21:10.86) also landed in the top 10 as the Demons placed second in the team hunt behind Moffat County.
Tess Ebert (22nd, 23:08.87), Kerry Kellogg (26th, 23:31.52) and Rebecca Carcaterra (28th, 23:41.15) also finished high.
Vinson Marr crossed first for the Demons in the boys race, claiming sixth place in 18:16.96. Ian Edquist nabbed seventh (18:18.13), Andrew Mansfield 17th (19:03.13) and Ryan Buchanan 20th (19:10.87) as Glenwood also finished second in the boys standings.
Melessa Starbuck led Coal Ridge with a 10th-place finish in the girls race. She legged out a time of 22:03.26.
Grand Valley’s Isaiah Martinez and Kristin Schubert locked down their school’s top finishes.
Martinez clocked a time of 18:56.59 to finish 16th in the boys race, while Schubert crossed in 22:25.42 to take 12th on the girls side of things.
Eryn Paskett finished 25th (23:27.99) for Grand Valley’s girls.
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