Mustangs, Panthers fight toward the finish
Five Mustangs set personal records as West Grand High School hosted a Saturday tri-meet featuring West Grand, Middle Park and Colorado Rocky Mountain School before next week’s big race in Granby.
In Kremmling, Allura Luna, Lillie Steinle, Joana Ramirez, Brandon Dale, Vincent Schenk and Eric Gregory all turned in new personal records for the Mustangs while Alex Bergman and Alejo Aguilar ran their first high school race on the West Grand course.
“Everybody ran us a great race today,” Mustangs coach Ryan Tripicchio said. “It’s basically a cloudy, cool day and everybody ran well. Vince really came along and dropped his time by seven minutes from two weeks ago, (which) was incredible.”
The coach was also impressed by Gregory improving his best time by six minutes, and Ramirez improving hers by more than four minutes.
In the girls run, Samantha Westfahl and Luna had another close contest that was decided in the last 200 meters, as Westfahl pulled ahead to finish just 2 seconds ahead of Luna. The pair took second and third. Joy Hast rounded out the top three West Grand girls with a seventh place finish, and Steinle and Ramirez continue to get stronger each week.
“Lillie dropping time is also a very good sign for us,” Tripicchio said. “She is crucial as our fourth runner.”
In the boys race, Galen Wilkinson led the Mustangs with a fifth place finish, followed closely by Henry Westfahl, who came in 18 seconds later at sixth.
In the middle of the pack, West Grand had three runners — Alejo Aguilar, Alex Bergman and Quinten Fletcher — finish within 25 seconds of each other.
Also, Vincent Schenk and Eric Gregory each improved their personal records on the course by more than seven minutes. Dale, who joined cross country this fall to keep himself busy, continues to be an asset to the team with solid runs each week.
For Middle Park there were four major takeaways from Saturday’s race, including Maddie Trail posting her first win.
“She is looking stronger each race,” Panthers coach Beth Merrick said of the girls’ top finish.
Additionally, Middle Park senior Ethan Callarman blazed through the course, posting the top time of all racers at 19:32. For Merrick, having Callarman on the team has been “a coach’s dream.”
“Every practice he goes out and trains hard, and race days he brings it,” she said, adding that it was exciting to see him win another race and she will miss him dearly next year.
Also, Middle Park’s Dane Jensen started out toward the back of the pack at the beginning of the run, but he made a strong push later on and passed a good number of racers to finish eighth.
As for Ewan Gallagher, his coach told him to take a chance last week, and Gallagher responded by racing out into lead for the first part of Saturday’s race.
“He ended up not finishing well, but taking a chance is a life long lesson,” Merrick said, explaining that she couldn’t be more proud of Gallagher for taking the chance.
West Grand Tri Meet
Saturday, Sept. 19
Boys team scores — 1. Colorado Rocky Mountain School, 25; 2. Middle Park, 47; 3. West Grand, 50.
Middle Park — 1. Ethan Callarman, 19:32; 8. Dane Jensen, 22:37; 10. Ewan Gallagher, 23:24; 11. Calvin Ciccarelli, 23:44; 17. Jonah McKnight, 26:14.
West Grand — 5. Galen Wilkinson, 21:20; 6. Henry Westfahl, 21:38; 13. Alex Bergman, 24:40; 14. Quentin Fletcher, 24:43; 18. Vincent Schenk, 31:19; 20. Brandon Dale, 36:39; 21. Eric Gregory, 49:31.
Girls team scores — 1. Middle Park, 32; 2. West Grand, 46; 3. Colorado Rocky Mountain School, 52.
Middle Park — 1. Madison Trail, 23:18; 4. Leah Cormican, 24:17; 6. Sierra Manyak, 24:56; 10. Cameryn Friesen, 26:27; 11. Ryley Friesen, 26:47; 12. Kylee Boomer, 26:52; 13. Alaina Mears, 28:32.
West Grand — 2. Samantha Westfahl, 23:30; 3. Allura Luna, 23:32; 7. Joy Hast, 25:31; 15. Lillie Steinle, 29:32; 19. Joana Ramirez, 32:35.
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Grand County launched an online poll to gauge public opinion on the proposed name change for the Gore Range to the Nuchu Range.