More than 140 runners competed at the 12th annual Hotchkiss Cross Country meet last Saturday. KVNF’s Tamie Meck has this report.
The Hotchkiss girls team had 16 points for the win—securing the two best times of the day and placing four runners in the top 10. Montrose, led by Dana Shellhorn, placed second with 41 points. Paonia was third with 49 points.
The boys team also claimed the top two times to win the team title with 22 points. Second-place Palisade had 33 points, and Montrose was third with 42 points.
Considered one of the toughest in the state, the course begins with a quarter-mile moderate climb before turning onto a rutty jeep trail and dropping into a steep ravine. Then it gets tricky. It pays to know the course. Hotchkiss senior Cody Bartlett used the home-course advantage to pull off a win, completing the 5,000-meter race in 18 minutes, 38 seconds.
"I just knew the kids don't know this course like we do, obviously, since we train on it all the time. I know what the hills do to you. And I knew that those kids just had too much adrenaline. They went out too fast. I knew I'd eventually catch them," said Bartlett.
Bartlett passed the lead pack at the half-mile point. Palisade's Anders Vancalcar, who placed third, nipped at his heels, but Bartlett moved ahead to take a strong lead by the mid-way point and finished 30 seconds off the course record. Teammate Andrew Tiedemann placed second in 19 minutes, 4 seconds.
Bartlett was hoping to break last year’s course record set by Delta's Jacob Ames. But recent dry weather made the course soft, which made for slower all-around course times.
Hotchkiss junior Natalie Anderson won the girls division with a time of 21 minutes, 3 seconds. Teammate Jenni Celis placed second. Anderson was after the course record, which she set in 2010, but was also hampered by the soft track.
"Obviously my goal before I graduate is going to be to get the course record. But it's faster than last year, so it's progress. The valley was super, super soft," said Anderson.
Garnet Mesa Elementary School principal Jim Farmer won this year's Dobie Desert Classic 5K citizens race. Distance runner Jessica Carlson of Surface CreekVision school won the women's division, finishing sixth overall.
This Saturday, local teams will compete at the Anna Banana Memorial Wildcat Invitational at Connected Lakes State Park. The citizens race begins at 8 a.m., and varsity races start at 10.
In football, Montrose blanked Hinkley High School Friday in a 60-0 blowout. Mike Rocha ran a 6-yard touchdown run and Aaron Fierro kicked the extra point to give the Indians a 20-0 lead with seconds remaining in the first quarter. Montrose forced a fumble, which Fierro grabbed and returned 30 yards for the score. The three and one Indians host Monarch this Friday.
The Western Slope League's 1A competition opens this Friday. Paonia will host Roaring Fork at 7 p.m., as part of their homecoming week festivities. The Eagles head into league play with a 1-3 record. That includes a 38-6 win over Dolores on Saturday, in which Will Austin ran for 104 yards and four touchdowns.
In what could be the most important and exciting game of the season, the Hotchkiss Bulldogs will host Cedaredge Friday night. The Bruins, led by quarterback Dante Markley, are averaging 106 yards passing compared to the Bulldogs' 77-yard average. But on the ground, the Bulldogs average 286 yards, with running back Jacobe Galley contributing 160 yards and more than 16 points per game. The Bruins, let by Reid Gates and Carter Wasser, average 200 yards rushing.
Hotchkiss is ranked first and Cedaredge second in the Western Slope league and enter league play with a 3-1 record. This game could determine the league championship. But with five weeks left in the season, anything can happen.