Out of Nelson’s shadow, Jourgenson wins first career race in Warrior Invitational
In 2008, Moffat County’s Maddy Jourgenson was one of the top runners in the Western Slope. As a sophomore she placed sixth in the state cross country meet, but until Friday, she had never won a race in her high school career.
When she crossed the finish line at Friday’s Warrior Invitational at Long Family Memorial Park, that changed when she beat Grand Valley’s Brandi Kreig and Grand Junction’s Kelsey Slauson to take the top spot.
“It’s crazy. I’m so happy,” Jourgenson said. “This is my first race I’ve ever actually won.”
The reason she’s never won? Her teammate last year was Class 4A state champion Alicia Nelson.
“She beat me every time, but it’s weird without her out there,” Jourgenson said.
Moffat County had three of the top five runners in each race, with both the boys and girls teams winning.
“I love it (the competition) because it just shows here on the Western Slope we have some talented teams and talented individuals,” Fruita Monument coach Herb Huskey said.
“It just nice to see runners like that over here and not have to go to Denver to see that kind of runner.”
In the boys race, Moffat County claimed three of the top five spots, with Chris Zirkle and Alfredo Lebron placing first and second and teammate Corey Wojtkiewicz finishing fifth.
The race looked to be close early as Zirkle and Palisade’s Kevin Martinez were jockeying for the lead. As the race went on, Zirkle gained ground for the win.
“I was trying to be patient early and try to save something for the end,” Zirkle said. “I wasn’t too worried about it but I did keep him in eyesight.”
Moffat County coach Todd Trapp said the team was expecting to do well coming off of its performance last weekend at the Arapahoe Invitational and the Pre-State Meet in Fort Collins.
“Coming down here, we thought it would be pretty close with Fruita, so we talked about that with our guys and said, ‘you know, this is a good point, let’s get this season started with a win down here and we can just build on that,’ ” Trapp said.
Fruita Monument’s teams both took second place, with Woody Seagren taking third place in the boys race and Lindsay Hyde and Kacey Mortensen taking seventh and eighth place in a girls race that featured three Moffat County runners in the top five.
Despite taking second, Huskey was happy with how his team did.
“Every time we’re racing I’m impressed with the kids,” Huskey said.
“They work hard all week long and they never let up, and we as coaches probably make them do a little more just so that we’ll have a great end of the season.”
Huskey also said his team has been dealing with injuries and illness this week, and the team is hoping to bounce back next week.
Grand Junction took third for both races. Kevin Martin was the top finisher for the Tigers in fourth behind Seagren.
Central, which hosted the race, finished fifth in points in both races. Scott Brennan took 17th in the boy’s race for the Warriors.