Runners put to the test in regional meet

Miles and miles of preparation were put in for this day.

The three Class 5A schools in the Grand Valley will put all that preparation to the test today in regional cross country tournaments.

“We expect to qualify,” Grand Junction coach Clay Keithley said of today’s Class 5A Region 1 meet. “We are telling them it is business as usual, do the same things they had been doing and don’t get starry-eyed.”

Tough teams in the Tigers’ region are host Chaparral, Denver East and Arapahoe, which finished second in state last season.

Grand Junction’s Kelsey Slauson is coming off a win at the District 51 championship and Mary Steel is another contender for a state spot.

“Kelsey is going into it wanting to win,” Keithley said.

On the boys side, the Tigers are led by Wyatt Colloty, who finished sixth at the district championship, Levi Hamer and Kevin Martin.

Central didn’t have anyone qualify for state last year but is pinning hopes on David Jerome this fall. Jerome has had a strong season, winning the Anna Banana and the district championship.

Cory Swim is the top girls runner, along with Emma Beckstead and Lorien Sheader.

“Everyone running at their best, I think that is a great goal and if the outcome of that is that we go to state, then we go to state,” Central coach Derek Brown said. “Our region is a little easier this year. We have a little relief in the middle and hopefully we can end up on the winning side.”

Cherry Creek and Dakota Ridge both finished in the top 10 at state last year, but the rest of the teams look to be evenly matched.

Fruita Monument is at the Region 3 race at the Adams County Fairgrounds.

The Wildcats haven’t been able to make it to state as a team in a couple of seasons, but that could end this year.

“Every time we talk, it is about getting the whole team to state,” Fruita Monument coach Herb Huskey said.

“We all have very high hopes, because this is what we have worked for all year.”

Fruita is led by Olivia Daniels, who made it to state last season as a freshman. She has raced well all year, finishing second at the district championship. Kasey Mortensen will also be right there with Daniels.

On the boys side, Woody Seagren, Tyler McDermott and Jordan Potterton lead the way.

The competition will be tough, with Fairview, Highlands Ranch and ThunderRidge in the regional.

On Saturday, the Western Slope 4A, 3A and 2A regionals are at Confluence Park in Delta.

Palisade will take on all the teams in the WSL along with Montrose and Summit in the 4A race. The 3A race has Bayfield, Centauri, Lake County and Monte Vista join the Western Slope teams.

The 2A race will be the smallest group of the day with Crested Butte, De Beque, Mancos, Meeker, Ouray, Rangely and Telluride.


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