GJ boys earn berth to 5A state XC meet
LITTLETON — When Kim Dobson took the reins of the Grand Junction High School cross country team last spring, she didn’t know what to expect from her program.
She got a definitive answer Thursday at the Class 5A Region 2 meet at Clement Park from her boys team.
The Tigers had two runners finish in the top 10, and they earned one of the five team berths in next week’s state meet in Colorado Springs.
“The boys really did well,” Dobson said, her smile barely contained on her face.
Tigers senior Charlie Medina stayed with the lead pack long enough to finish fourth overall in a time of 16 minutes, 5 seconds, which was 27 seconds behind the winning pace of Cherry Creek’s Alec Brudzinski.
“I wasn’t really sure who was here. I noticed a couple of guys,” Medina said of what to expect from the competition in the state-qualifying meet.
The quick pace was set early by the Cherry Creek team.
“Everybody’s trying to compete to get to state, so, of course, you’re going to run your fastest,” Medina said.
Two miles into the 3.1-mile race, “I thought I could pass (the leaders),” Medina said. “I guess I was trying to save myself (for the end).”
Teammate Greg Eccher finished 10th, a half-minute behind Medina. Eccher had been battling a cold for the past week-and-a-half, which had hampered his preparation for the regional meet.
Despite not being at his optimum, “I was feeling confident I could finish at least in the top 15,” he said.
The top 15 finishers were guaranteed a berth in the state meet.
The illness sapped some of Eccher’s energy but not enough to affect his finish.
“I felt fine until, maybe, two miles. My lungs and legs got weak,” he said, though he finished strong.
The Tigers’ Sam Videlock finished 26th, Allen Adair 30th and Noah Bradshaw 33rd, which helped Grand Junction to the fourth-place finish.
Medina, Eccher and Videlock had been the Tigers’ top three runners all season.
“Now we really started to get four, five and six (team runners) together,” Dobson said of the team effort to finish in the top five, with the top five runners counting toward the team score.
Fruita Monument’s Chuck Bisbee earned one of the individual berths by placing sixth.
“I’m just glad both Fruita and (Grand) Junction competed well today,” Bisbee said.
Knowing the top five runners had set a quick pace, “I wasn’t really going out to win it, just to get a top-10 finish,” Bisbee said, “so I’m pretty satisfied.
The Wildcats finished seventh in the team race. Central placed 12th with Sidney Brown leading the way for the Warriors by placing 71st.
The girls race was dominated by Cherry Creek, whose top five runners all placed in the top 14.
The best local finish came from Fruita Monument’s MacKenna Broyles, who placed 20th.
“This race I ran without a watch because I was running for a place, not time,” Broyles said. “And I’m addicted to my watch.”
She finished five spots out of a state-qualifying berth but was pleased with her effort.
“I definitely ran the best I could,” she said.