Granby " Middle Park runners continue to impress |

Granby " Middle Park runners continue to impress

Middle Park High sophomore Samantha Berggren made it three straight wins for her cross country racing season with a victory in the 2008 Liberty Bell at Heritage High School in Littleton on Friday, Sept. 12.

Running in the 3A division race with 183 runners, Berggren covered the 5 kilometers in a course record time of 18:29. The old course record of 18:33.5 was set by Kristen McGlynn of Platte Canyon in 2006.

The victory by Berggren at the Liberty Bell was part of a team effort by the Panther thinclads this season to improve and prepare themselves for the district, regional and state meets in October.

“Our kids all ran very well and many had a personal best time at the Liberty Bell,” said coach Jim ‘Cajun’ Courville. “We are proud of how hard they worked and they were all excited by their times at the end of the race. It was a fast course and it showed in how well our kids finished.”

Berggren’s run to victory on Friday did not go unchallenged. Basalt’s Chiara Del Piccolo ran a close second in a time of 18:38. She was the same runner who attempted to pass Berggren during the Longhorn Invitational at Basalt the previous weekend, but in the final kick to the finish, Berggren won it by five seconds.

The rest of Middle Park’s girls ran improved races Friday, posting some excellent times in the large field of runners. Their results are: 26. Ryndi Zastrow, 21:32; 66. Samantha Miyauchi, 22:59; 74. Hannah Garcia, 23:05; 93. Kelly Little, 23:47; 95. Lindsay Jones, 23:49; 99. Melissa Plum, 24:07; 103. Jessica Bondi, 24:15; 130. Sarah Williams, 24:57.

In the team results, the Panther girls finished 10th out of 21 teams. Estes Park won first place, followed by the Saratoga, Wyo., team in second and the Vista Ridge runners who finished third.

Middle Park’s boys also ran good races at the Liberty Bell. Once again, Nathaniel Ziegler was the Panthers’ fastest runner with a time of 19:14 for 61st place.

The boys 5K race, which had 171 runners in it, was won by Joseph De Moor of Buena Vista with a time of 15:24.

The results for the rest of the Panther boys at the Liberty Bell are: 84. Jared Cooper, 20:01; 88. Matt Naschak, 20:12; 109. Matt Curran, 20:56; 111. Hugh McDonough, 20:58.

In the boys team results, Middle Park finished 17th out of 21 teams. Faith Christian earned first place, followed by Colorado Academy as the runner-up and third place going to LaJunta.

Home meet Saturday

The Panthers will be racing on their home course this Saturday as they host the Snow Mountain Invitational. Fifteen teams are expected to race the 5-kilometer course.

Saturday’s schedule of events is: 8:30 a.m., registration/team packets at the Nordic Center; 9 a.m., a free citizens 5K race; 9:30 a.m., middle school boys race; 9:35 a.m., middle school girls race; 10:15 a.m., high school varsity boys race; 10:45 a.m., high school varsity girls race.

The Panther runners are inviting the public to come out to Snow Mountain Ranch this Saturday and cheer them on.

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