Cross country: Competition drives local runners to excel at Glenwood Springs Invite | PostIndependent.com

Cross country: Competition drives local runners to excel at Glenwood Springs Invite

Jon Mitchell
Post Independent Sports Editor
Rifle High School's Brenden Wagler runs toward the finish line during the boys race at the Glenwood Springs Invitational cross country meet Friday at the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus.
Jon Mitchell / jmitchell@postindependent.com |

Glenwood Springs Invitational

Friday at Colorado Mountain College

BOYS

TEAM — 1. Heritage 24; 2. Grandview 66; 3. Eagle Valley 87; 4. Aspen 134; 5. Rifle 152; 6. Battle Mountain 156; 7. Summit 162; 8. Glenwood Springs 213; 9. Basalt 227; 10. Greeley Central 285.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 10 and Garfield County finishers through Top 50)

1. Liam Meirow, S, 17:15.2; 2. Matthew Berberick, H, 17:51.1; 3. Mick Norton, G, 17:55.1; 4. John Jundy, H, 18:03.1; 5. Ben Mahoney, H, 18:14.5; 6. Jeremy Romero, H, 18:18.0; 7. Richard Weigang, H, 18:23.4; 8. Zach Walsh, B, 18:24.2; 9. Jeff Southern, G, 18:25.5; 10. Brenden Wagler, R, 18:27.8.

18. John Coombs, R, 19:16.1; 31. Gabe Marbas, R, 19:47.9; 33. Bailey Rogers, R, 19:56.9; 38. Phillip Hecksel, GS, 20:23.7; 45. Stefan Buxman, GS, 21:03.1; 46. Alphonse Fischer, GS, 21:03.4; 49. Wyatt Till, GS, 21:06.1.

GIRLS

TEAM — 1. Grandview 37; 2. Heritage 56; 3. Battle Mountain 87; 4. Summit 110; 5. Eagle Valley 153; 6. Aspen 160; 7. Glenwood Springs 179; 8. Greeley Central 208; 9. Basalt 217.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 10 and Garfield County finishers through Top 50)

1. Erin Norton, G, 20:15.7; 2. Ruthie Boyd, S, 21:11.8; 3. Hailey Swurbil, B, 21:12.2; 4. Nicole Mundy, G, 21:15.3; 5. Annika Reuter, H, 21:15.7; 6. Melanie Jenkins, G, 21:34.9; 7. Katherine Pappas, S, 21:39.0; 8. Lauren Linscott, H, 21:53.2; 9. Courtney Lippman, GS, 22:04; 10. Katie Potts, H, 22:08.8.

29. Kelly Coombs, Rifle, 23:38.9; 33. Jenna Brown, GS, 23:52.6; 42. Madi Spence, GS, 24:37.9.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Brenden Wagler marveled at the kind of competition he got to run against on Friday.

Then again, the Rifle High School junior wasn’t in awe of the competition he was running against. If anything, it pushed him to do better.

“That just drives me to do better,” Wagler said. “In practice, I visualize being able to catch those guys. All men are created equal, so I figured I’d just work harder in the preseason to catch them.”

Wagler wasn’t able to catch them during the Glenwood Springs Invitational cross country meet at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley Campus. He was, however, able to finish a respectable 10th in the fast field of 118 runners to help the Bears manage a fifth-place finish in the team standings.

Wagler finished with a time of 18 minutes, 27.8 seconds, which he said was slower then the previous time he ran on the course thanks to the tall, wet grass on the CMC soccer fields. The course didn’t slow him down when it mattered, though, as his drive and prior knowledge of the course from last year helped him pass a pair of runners down the home stretch to crack the Top 10.

“I think it did help,” Wagler said of his prior knowledge of the race course. “That and all of the experience I got from other meets has helped too.”

Liam Meirow of Summit paced the boys field, winning in 17:15.20. Heritage won the team title easily, claiming five of the top seven places to win convincingly with 24 points. Grandview was second with 66, with Eagle Valley (87), Aspen (134) and Rifle (152) following.

Also competing in the boys race was Colorado Rocky Mountain School. The Oysters’ top finisher was Jon Birzon, who finished 86th in 22:50.6.

Host Glenwood Springs managed an eighth-place finish in the team standings. The Demons’ top finisher was freshman Phillip Hecksel, whose time of 20:23.70 netted him a 38th-place finish.

“Going up against all these good runners helps me,” Hecksel said. “It shows me where I’m at and what I need to improve on.”

Someone who improved on what anyone has done in the girls race was Erin Norton of Grandview, whose winning time of 20:15.70 broke the course record of 20:20 set last year by Ruthie Boyd of Summit. Boyd finished second this year, needing a massive kick at the end of the race to nip Basalt’s Hailey Swirbil with a time of 21:11.8.

Grandview won the team title as well, netting first-, fourth, sixth and 11th-place finishes for a team score of 37. Heritage was second with 56 points with Battle Mountain third with 87.

Glenwood, which finished seventh in the nine-team race, was paced by Courtney Lippman. The senior was disappointed with her time of 22:04.7, feeling she could have performed better.

“Today could have been better,” said Lippman, who finished fourth in the Liberty Bell Invitational this past weekend. “I just wasn’t feeling it. The beginning was good, but then I dropped off.”

Lippman kept pace with the lead pack for the first part of the 5,000-meter race. But as the pack reached the second half of the course, she’d dropped back before her final kick at the end netted her ninth place.

Pacing Rifle was Kelly Coombs, whose time of 23:39.9 netted her 29th place. Jenna Brown of Glenwood was 33rd in 23:52.6.

jmitchell@postindependent.com


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