Palisade qualifies boys team for 4A cross country state meet
DELTA — Palisade High School is known for excellence in a number of team sports. For this year at least, add cross country to the list.
The Bulldogs boys placed fourth Wednesday at the Class 4A regional at Delta’s Confluence Park, qualifying for the state cross country meet.
“From our athletic director to the principal, who have been around a long time, this is the first time they can even think of,” Palisade coach Tim Reetz said of a Palisade boys or girls cross country team qualifying for state. “Last year we took one person to state. This year we’ll take 10. I like that.”
Like it, tweet it, share it — Palisade is heading to the Oct. 27 state cross country races at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
And so is Montrose, which placed fifth, eight points behind Palisade.
Durango won the division, placing five runners in the top 11.
Summit’s Liam Meirow won the race in 16 minutes, 6.9 seconds.
In Class 3A and 4A, the top 15 individuals and top five teams qualified for state. In Class 2A, the top 15 individuals and the top 40 percent of teams qualified, which turned out to be three girls teams and four boys teams.
Palisade had six runners in the top 50, led by Anders Van Calcar, who was 12th in a time of 17:01.93.
“We finally get to go to state with all our friends and teammates,” Van Calcar said. “We’ve never improved so much; we’ve just been watching times drop every week.”
Battle Mountain won the girls division with 49 points.
Meanwhile, Delta’s senior twins Clarissa and Cleo Whiting took second and third, respectively. Clarissa ran an 18:23.16 and Cleo ran an 18:23.93.
Durango’s Shannon Maloney won the 4A girls race in 18:10.6. Maloney, who runs the 400-meter dash in track, outdashed the twins in the final, dirt-road stretch.
Normally, the Whiting twins will allot a race win to one another prior to the start, something they call “The System.” Not this time.
“No system today,” Clarissa said. “We decided to beat it out, to push each other because we were trying to get a good time.”
For Cleo, the race meant all or nothing on the flat, fast course.
“Because this is my last time to get a fast race,” she said, “because the state race is not going to be that fast.”
Palisade freshman Greta Van Calcar placed seventh in 19:06.47.
Olathe’s Destiny Perry and Grand Valley’s Rocio Roman qualified for the girls state meet.
Perry placed eighth, running a 20:31.0. She said she made a move 2½ miles into the race, passing three runners.
“Because that’s my breaking point,” she said of making her move at that point. “I didn’t feel tired.”
Roman, meanwhile, is going to state after playing volleyball in addition to running cross country last season.
“I want to run in college,” she said, “so I thought this would benefit me more.”
Moffat County won the girls division, and Bayfield’s Eva Lou Edwards won in 17:30.28.
In the boys division, Bayfield won as a team, and Bayfield’s Trevor Gabbard won individually in 16:35.25
The Hotchkiss girls took the championship as Natalie Anderson placed third in 19:21.4 and Jennifer Celis placed fourth in 19:42.75.
Paonia placed second, qualifying its team for state, with three runners finishing in the top 10 — Taylor Polson (fifth), Chelsy Reed (seventh) and Chelsea Meilner (10th).
Also for Hotchkiss, Mae Anderson was sixth (20:26.36), Sophia Schelle eighth (20:42.90) and Tiffany Clock 11th (21:06.26).
“I like hills, but I like this course because it’s a quick course,” Natalie Anderson said. “There were really no hills.”
Celis, an 800-meter run champion in track last spring, used her speed to her advantage on the flat course.
“This year I’ve tried to push earlier in the race and have less of a kick,” Celis said.
The Hotchkiss boys took second, led by Cody Bartlett’s second-place finish in 16:25.02.
Rangely’s William Scoggins won in 16:14.55. Telluride won the boys division.