Glenwood harriers trot to third place

Phil Sandoval

PALISADE – It would have been nice for Glenwood Springs to carry away the boys’ team championship from Saturday’s Class 4A Western Regional meet at Riverbend Park.

But, in the world of prep cross-country, a regional title is a secondary. What’s most important is qualifying for the state championship.

By finishing third among the 10 competing schools, the Demons earned a team berth at next week’s Class 4A state meet at Kent Denver High School.

And, after Saturday’s finish, Glenwood coach Joe Mollica is confident of the team’s chances for a high finish in Denver.

“I think this is the toughest region in the state,” Mollica said. “To finish third in the toughest region sets us up good for next week.”

Mullen won the team championship with 71 points. Moffat County’s 79 points earned the Bulldogs second-place. Glenwood scored 89 points, well ahead of fourth-place Montrose and Steamboat, who tied with 105 points.

Rifle, the other area school in the 10-team regional, finished seventh with 188 points.

Glenwood also placed two runners in the Top 10.

After jockeying for position with the leaders, Demon senior Marco Salmen lost his bid for second place to Ben Tobler of Montrose in the last 50 yards of the 5-kilometer course.

Both runners battled to the finish line. Tobler’s 16 minute, 31.01 time bettered Salmen’s 16:31.66 mark by five one-hundredths of a second. Palisade’s Glen Randall won the individual boys championship by running a 16:16.86 on his home course.

“I kind of figured it might come down to that,” Salmen said of his sprint with Tobler to the finish line. “He’s a tough guy to break. (Tobler) was far out of sight for awhile, but once I turned around on the last stretch, I went as hard as I could to catch up with him.”

Once Salmen closed the gap, he stunned his long-time rival by sprinting the race’s final 50 yards.

“That was a little element of surprise, because Ben’s always been able to kick me out,” added Salmen. “For a second I got a tiny bit ahead, then his kick got me – it was a good race.”

Chris Coddington also had a good race.

The Demon senior ran a 17:40.54 run for 10th place. Teammate Alex Tiernan, a sophomore at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, finished in 13th place with a time of 17:49.80. Other Demons times that counted in the team scoring included Alec Littler (24th place, 18:25.93) and German Gil (39th, 19:48.01).

Joe Schmitz had the best time among Rifle’s five runners. His 18:26.95 time earned the Bear senior 26th place in the individual standings. Teammates David Suminski, Jacob Tabor, Justin Steffan and Luke Ulmer finished 32nd, 40th, 41st and 49th respectively.

The girls race was dominated by Moffat County.

The Bulldogs defeated Mullen 31 to 41 for the team title. Third-place Steamboat Springs was the only other girls team to finish in double figures.

Glenwood and Rifle tied for seventh with 218 team points each.

Three Bulldog girls, paced by individual champ Danielle Brown, finished in the Top 10. Three others, including Treva Tyler’s non-scoring, 15th-place time, concluded the race among the top 15 runners.

Brown’s winning time of 19:22.31 bested teammate Laurel Mortenson’s 19:44.85 finish by 22 seconds.

Rifle’s Jessica Warwick had the best time of area girls. The junior posted a 20:20.64 for 25th place among the 56 runners in the field. Glenwood freshman Angie Vichick was 31st. Her fellow Demons, Crystal Bergman and Cassidy Willey, finished 39th and 40th, just ahead of Rifle’s Jennifer Childs, who took 42nd place.

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