Fruita Monument runs to victory
Fruita Monument’s big blue machine dominated the 3.1-mile Lucky Ned Cross Country Invitational on Friday at Canyon View Park.
In an eight-team field, the Wildcats won the boys race and finished second in the girls, behind big performances by several racers who did not run on the varsity last year.
“From one week to the next, they keep picking each other off, which just keeps making us stronger week to week,” coach Herb Huskey said of his runners.
Huskey added that as a coach, the competitiveness within the team was great to see.
Sophomore standout Olivia Daniels placed third overall to lead the way for the girls, who overwhelmed the field with a large mass of blue at the starting and finish line.
Grand Junction and Central finished third and fourth, respectively, in the girls race. The Tigers placed third in the boys race and Central placed fifth.
The boys race came down to the final stretch as three racers, including Grand Junction runner Wyatt Colloty and Central runner David Jerome, battled for first place.
Each runner took a turn at the front of the pack over the final 100 feet to grab the crowd’s attention. Alamosa’s Tommy Owen got the crowd cheering as pulled away from the field over the final 10 feet to win the race.
Jerome set a personal record for the race with a time of 16 minutes, 52 second to take second. Owen won the race with a time of 16:51.
Although Colloty could not catch Owen during the race, he made sure to catch up with him moments afterward to congratulate Owen on the race.
We expect that from our kids,” Grand Junction coach Clay Keithley said of his star junior’s show of sportsmanship. “We expect that, but that’s not something you have to teach some kids, and he’s that kind of kid.”
Central coach Derek Brown was very pleased with his team’s performance, especially with their lack of experience. For several runners, this was their first varsity race, and most of the others set personal records for the year.
The teams are gearing up for regionals, which is about five weeks away. Fruita’s large mass of blue will be one of the favorites, but Keithley thinks his young team will only get better.
“I’m expecting us to keep getting better until regionals,” Keithley said. “And hopefully we can beat the big blue machine.”