Late surge helps Boucher win Anna Banana title
For most of Saturday’s Anna Banana Invitational boys cross country race at Connected Lakes State Park, Crested Butte High School sophomore Ian Boucher was just waiting for his chance.
Boucher trailed Fruita Monument’s Kyler Brown nearly the entire race.
It wasn’t until the final stretch that he made his move, forcing a dead sprint between the two in the final hundred feet.
“I saw that little opening,” said Boucher, who won the race in 16 minutes, 5 seconds. “A little deep in there (I knew) it’s time to go, it’s time to run. I started sprinting around 400 meters out, kept it pretty consistent a few feet in front of the kid.”
Brown finished second in 16:08, although his placing helped the Wildcats win the team title in their own race with 64 points.
“I was planning on pacing with Alfredo Lebron from Moffat (County) and Ty (Willams) from Telluride, and neither of them showed up, so I decided to go out and lead it,” Brown said. “I heard him behind me the whole time and then right beside me. We worked together mentally and stayed with each other and it really helped to push us both in our times.”
The times the two posted were among the best of their high school careers. Brown’s time tied his personal best and Boucher cut 45 seconds off his previous personal best of 16:50.
“In Crested Butte we run at 9,000 feet, so when you come down from that it feels amazing,” Boucher said.
Delta’s Jacob Ames took third in 16:23 and the top five was rounded out by Grand Junction’s Greg Eccher and Charlie Medina, who finished in 16:30 and 16:34. respectively. The Tigers placed second with 121 points.
Palisade’s top runner was Greg Tarman, who took 26th in 17:51. Central’s Sebastian Nevin placed 36th in 18:05.
Telluride’s Rachel Hampton won the girls race in 18:51, nearly 10 second ahead of Battle Mountain’s Mandy Ortiz.
During the first mile, Hampton trailed Ortiz and Hotchkiss’ Natalie Anderson.
Shortly after the mile mark, she pushed ahead.
“They pushed me through the first mile and the second mile I could feel them right on my heels. I just had to hold on,” Hampton said.
Ortiz finished second in 19:02 and was followed by Delta’s Clarissa Whiting, who finished in 19:05, a personal best.
“That’s the fastest race I’ve ever been in,” Whiting said. “I looked (at my time) at the first mile, I looked at the second mile and then the third I didn’t look until I stopped.
“All I could think about was just try and if you don’t try you’ll never know if you can do it.”
Clarissa’s sister, Cleo Whiting, took sixth in 19:39.
Anderson finished fourth in 19:23 and her team finished first with 79 points.
Delta took second with 99 points.
Palisade’s Katy Mueller took 11th in 20:36 and was the Grand Valley’s top finisher.
Sarah Horn took 20th (21:05) and was Fruita’s top runner. Teammate Cassidy Ahrens took 28th in 21:23. The Wildcats placed fifth with 174 points.
Grand Junction’s Trinity Simmons (21:11) and Sam Melcher (21:14) took 23rd and 24th. The Tigers finished seventh with 180.
Central’s Emma Beckstead took 38th in 21:32.
Fruita Monument coach Herb Huskey said this year’s Anna Banana was the largest in its history with 20 teams, two more than last year, plus the 5K citizens’ race.
The race is named in honor of former Fruita Monument runner Anna Janowitz, who died in a 2002 traffic accident on her way to cross country practice.