Fruita boys, GJ girls win Tiger Invite team titles
Grand Junction’s Clarissa Berry finished second and Cassandra Grigware was third as the hosts won the Tiger Invitational girls cross-country race Friday at Canyon View Park.
The Tigers had four girls place in the top seven and finished with 31 points in the six-team meet. Fruita Monument was second with 58 points.
Palisade’s Greta Van Calcar blew away the rest of the field on the 5-kilometer course, finishing in 18 minutes, 30.7 seconds. Berry was next at 20:30, and Grigware clocked in at 20:51. Erika Meister finished fifth for the Tigers and teammate Nicole Seibold placed seventh.
“Our varsity all ran really strong races,” Grand Junction coach Kim Dobson said. “We have a lot of girls running this year. We have 10 girls fighting for those top seven spots. They’re much stronger than they were last year.”
Fruita Monument won the boys race with 35 points, 10 better than Grand Junction, as Chuck Bisbee led seven Wildcats in the top 14, placing third in 16:40.4. Keaton Brown took fourth (17:13), J.T. McLaughlin was seventh, and Russell McBreen was 10th for Fruita.
Wildcats coach Herb Huskey said his boys were directed to try some different things during the race to improve areas where they’re weak. For example, Bisbee ordinarily would start strong and stay with the leaders, but he dropped back with the Wildcats’ Nos. 2 and 3 runners to help pace them to faster first miles. Huskey said that worked, plus Bisbee was “the fastest kid in the last part of the race. He made up a lot of ground.”
Grand Junction’s Greg Eccher won the race, clocking a personal-best 16:07.7, which was 22 seconds ahead of runner-up Jake Erickson of Palisade.
“He looked very comfortable and relaxed,” Dobson said. “He was pushing himself. ... He led the whole way. He was focused, running very relaxed.
“His sights are set on breaking the 16-minute barrier.”
Jacob Lapkin lost the first set at No. 1 singles on a tiebreaker but bounced back to win the only match that went to three sets as Grand Junction routed Durango 7-0.
The Tigers’ No. 1 doubles team of Matt Prinster and Max Proietti had the most dominant victory, winning 6-0, 6-0.
Grand Junction had been scheduled to travel to Denver East for a dual Friday, but heavy rain in recent days there led to the postponement of that match as well as the Tigers’ dual today at Smoky Hill. Both nonleague duals have been rescheduled for next Friday, with Grand Junction playing Smoky Hill at 1 p.m. at Smoky Hill High School and Denver East at 4 p.m. at City Park.
The Tigers arranged the dual with Durango for Friday because the Demons already were coming to town to play Central today.
Grand Junction’s nonleague doubleheader at Liberty was postponed until Sept. 20. The first game will start at 3 p.m.