Demon boys place 20th at state XC meet
The Glenwood Springs boys cross country team stepped to the line of the 4A State Cross Country Championships as one of the youngest teams to qualify. Again. With a second year of state experience under their belt, the Demons battled the heat and the state’s elite to a 20th place team finish.
Sophomore Henry Barth paved the way for the Glenwood charge, claiming 31st place individually with a time of 16:57 on the difficult 5 kilometer course. Barth took off with the lead pack, then continued to battle through the second half of the race to improve upon a 79th place finish from a year ago. Classmate Gavin Harden also improved on his 2015 position, taking home 88th place in 17:55.
A trio of juniors crossed the line in quick succession to round out the scoring for the Demons. Ian Richardson finished in 120th place (18:24), followed soon thereafter by Austin Hawkins (18:47) and Mathew Thrun (18:47), who took 130th and 131st respectively.
Also competing for the Demons were sophomore Bryce Risner (138th, 19:03) and junior Dalton Miner (144th, 19:17), both making their state championship debuts.
Glenwood Springs Head Coach Mike Schneider applauded his team’s effort to establish themselves early in the race. “We knew that on this course we had to get out hard,” said Schneider, “We definitely did that.”
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Barth enjoyed the opportunity to get to compete again at the championships, “I like getting to compare how things went this meet with last year.” As for the team’s effort, Barth added, “I think we ran great, and I know that we’re going to have everyone back next year to go for it again.”
As for his top runner, Schneider spoke highly of Barth’s effort to finish in the front pack. “He ran great,” said the head coach, “He put in the time over the summer, and he’s starting to see how high his ceiling is.”
“We’re still so young,” Schneider added, “A couple of these guys hadn’t run here last year, so we’re still learning and only going to get better.”
Taking stock of the opportunity to compete amongst the state’s best, Schneider found that the biggest celebration from the day comes from reaching the pinnacle meet for a second straight year. “Just being here lets you appreciate what you’ve done over the course of the season.”
Rifle girls cross country hadn’t been represented in the State Championships since 2008. This year, the Lady Bears broke through to send two individuals to make their debut in the 3A race, junior Sarah Wagler and sophomore Ashley Manera.
Wagler, a state qualifier in track and field, paced herself amongst the lead groups for the opening half of the race. With the sun bearing down, Wagler pressed through the challenges of the second half in order to earn a 26th place finish, crossing the line in 20:36.
Meanwhile, Manera kept a solid position in the middle of the pack to tally 91st place overall, ending with a time of 22:51.
Wagler’s finish at the front of the field gave her much to think about, “This was a great learning experience,” she said, “and being around my teammates made the whole meet just that much better.”
Coal Ridge senior Justin Allen made sure to make his last visit to the 3A State Championships one to remember. Making his third trip to Colorado Springs, the Titans’ lone qualifier made another significant jump in the state rankings, landing a 39th place finish to wrap up his season.
Allen, who finished 51st a year ago on the same course, held a consistent position in the field throughout the 5K race, and his time of 17:47 sits as his best mark in his three attempts.
Rifle’s Jack Rubalcave also wrapped up his high school cross country career with his second state appearance. The Bear standout took home 52nd place in a time of 18:03.
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