Cross country: Wagler, Hirons pace local athletes at Demon Invitational |

Cross country: Wagler, Hirons pace local athletes at Demon Invitational

Mike Vidakovich


BOYS: 1. Daniel Book, Cherry Creek, 16:50; 2. Brendan Wagler, Rifle, 16:58; 3. Allen Adair, Grand Junction, 17:02; 4. Richard Weigang, Heritage, 17:07; 5. Lars Hultgren, Cherry Creek, 17:13; 6. Chris Pohs, Heritage, 17:20; 7. Gino Giovagnoli, Eagle Valley, 17:32; 8. Konor Von Kraut, Cherry Creek, 17:37; 9. Jared Leblow, G.J. Central, 17:39; 10. Jeremy Romero, Heritage, 17:39.

GIRLS: 1. Lily Markusch, Cherry Creek, 19:49; 2. Devon Peterson, Cherry Creek, 19:52; 3. McKenna Ramsay, Summit, 19:58; 4. Ruthie Boyd, Summit, 20:01; 5. Hailey Swirbul, Basalt, 20:02; 6. Katie Plomondon, Cherry Creek, 20:06; 7. Lisa Swartz, Cherry Creek, 20:06; 8. Annie Raymond, Cherry Creek, 20:09; 9. Kiera Pelletier, Cherry Creek, 20:13; 10. Emily Cutter, Cherry Creek, 20:17.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A race in Glenwood Springs that starts on Coach Miller Drive and finishes on the homestretch of the track oval at Stubler Memorial Field can’t help but hold a great deal of promise.

And a very good race it turned out to be.

Friday afternoon’s Glenwood Demon Invitational cross country meet attracted a stellar field of 15 teams from throughout the state, including a few of the bigger schools from Colorado’s Front Range.

Glenwood coach Mike Schneiter was more than pleased at the size of the field and the caliber of runners in both the boys and girls races.

“This is super fun,” Schneiter said. “I had a chance to go over to the stands and watch all the runners take off at the start. This is great competition for our kids.”

The girls race was dominated by the 5A Cherry Creek Bruins, who had the top two finishers in Lily Markusch (19 minutes, 49 seconds) and Devon Peterson, who was close behind at 19:52. The Bruins tallied 21 points for their winning score, which was well ahead of the 102 point total put on the board by Summit High School. Grand Junction was third with 110 points.

Basalt junior Hailey Swirbul was leading the race with just over a half mile to go, but couldn’t quite match the kick of her pursuers.

“I tried my best to hang on, but I got passed by a couple of my rivals from Summit and the girls from Cherry Creek,” said Swirbul, who ended up a very respectable fifth place.

The Glenwood girls were led by freshman Claudia Hirons, who was 22nd overall. Hirons posted a time of 22:08. Second for the Demons was Samantha Wright in 23:08. Wright was followed closely by Madi Spence (23:11), Serena Richardson (23:29) and Shay Helm (23:31).

Spence, a senior, enjoys the struggles and satisfaction that cross country running brings.

“I was in pain there at the end, but I knew the finish line was close. When people doubt me and say I can’t run that far, it just fuels me more,” said Spence, who is also a standout basketball player for the Demons.

The top finisher for the Rifle girls was Kelly Coombs, who posted a time of 22:06, good for 21st overall. Sarah Wagler was 36th for the Bears (23:16) and 87th was Miriam Wilks (25:50).

Cherry Creek edged Heritage for the boys team title, but for individual honors, a speedy Bear from Rifle gave the big boys all they could handle.

Rifle senior Brendan Wagler finished second overall with a time of 16:58, just eight seconds back of winner Daniel Book of Cherry Creek. Wagler went out fast at the beginning, knowing he had to fight it out with the lead pack.

“I was just trying to keep the pace at the beginning. The first mile felt really good. I believed in myself so I just kept pushing to stay with the first group,” Wagler said.

Mathew Thrun and Ian Richardson, a pair of promising freshman, were tops among Glenwood finishers. Both Demon youngsters were excited about their performance.

“This is my first time running for the boys, and I kind of surprised myself,” said Thrun, who was 37th overall. “I didn’t know if I could do it, but my dad did. So I decided to listen to him.”

Richardson was equally as pleased.

“I usually finish in the top seven, but this is the first time I’ve finished second.”

The first five Glenwood Springs High School finishers were Thrun (19:05), Richardson (19:29), Phillip Hecksel (19:32), Austin Hawkins (19:35), and Zeb Thorsen (19:37). Both the boys and girls teams at Glenwood finished seventh in the team standings.

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