Granby – Middle Park High School cross country: Sophomore star back on the podium |

Granby – Middle Park High School cross country: Sophomore star back on the podium

Will Bublitz
Granby, Colorado

The Middle Park High School Panthers’ Samantha Berggren was back on top of the victory stand after winning the Chris Severy Cross Country Invitational at Aspen High School Oct. 4.

The Middle Park High sophomore ran the hilly five-kilometer course in a time of 21:31. Berggren’s effort helped boost the Panther girls to a third-place finish in Saturday’s eight-team competition.

The victory at Aspen was Berggren’s sixth first-place finish of the 2008 season. The only race that she did not take first was the previous weekend at the LoBo Cat Invitational in Fort Collins where she placed ninth against a field of more than 200 runners, mostly from the larger 4A and 5A divisions.

Saturday’s girls 5K in Aspen was also the third rematch for Berggren with Chiara Del Piccolo, a junior from Basalt High School. Del Piccolo has been Berggren’s most consistent challenge in 3A division races so far this season.

“It’s now three for three for Sam B. vs. Chiara Del Piccolo,” said Coach Jim “Cajun” Courville. “The race was over with 500 meters to go. Sam won going away with Del Piccolo six seconds and 40 meters back.

“The margin was similar to results at Basalt and Liberty Bell,” he said. “This is Del Piccolo’s backyard and there were lots of her supporters on the course. Sam kept her cool throughout the race and had enough left for a strong finish.”

The rest of Middle Park’s girls ran very good individual races, helping the team to its third-place finish. Durango won first with Fruita-Monument taking second place.

“Our girls had good team effort,” Courville said. “Our third place was one point back of second.”

The individual results for the Panther girls in the 5K at Aspen are: 14. Ryndi Zastrow, 24:58; 24. Samantha Miyauchi, 25:58; 44. Melissa Plum, 27:52; 46. Jessica Bondi, 28:04; 52. Lindsay Jones, 2:18; and 66. Sarah Williams. 32:00.

The Chris Severy Invitational also had a five-kilometer race for boys. That race was won by Roblet Muhudin of Overland High School with a time of 18:37.

Nathanial Ziegler, the Panthers’ top male runner, ran Aspen’s five-kilometer course in a time of 21:34 for 35th place. His teammate Matt Curran finished in 22:50 for 56th place.

“We had a good effort by Nathanial and Matt in this race,” Courville said.

The results for the rest of Middle Park’s boys are: 83. Jared Cooper, 25:40; 84. Hugh McDonough, 25:44; 85. Matt Naschak, 25:45; and Nick O’Conner, 25:48.

Middle Park boys finished in 13th place out of the 13 teams competing last Saturday at Aspen. Durango won the boys’ team competition, followed by Ridgeview and Overland.

The Panther cross country runners will be racing again this Friday, Oct. 10 in the Frontier League Championships being held at Evergreen. The first race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

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