Van Calcar overcomes injuries, finishes fifth in state at 4A cross-country

COLORADO SPRINGS — Considering she took off nearly a month in the middle of the season to heal a couple of injuries, Greta Van Calcar could hardly have asked for a better state meet.

The Palisade High School sophomore placed fifth in Saturday’s Class 4A state cross -country meet in one of the top classifications in the state. Van Calcar finished in 19 minutes, 34 seconds, just one second out of fourth place.

“I was hoping for third (place),” Van Calcar said.

Considering she had to rest in the middle of the season to nurse Achilles injuries in both legs plus plantar fascitis in one, her top-five finish was impressive, especially against competition that included one of the top runners in the country, Niwot’s Elise Cranny, who set a course record for girls by winning the state title in 18:07.8.

A false start at the beginning led to a restart of the race. That altered Van Calcar’s mental outlook a bit.

“When you think about the race too much, it can throw your game off,” she said.

Van Calcar already has broken a couple of school records previously held by 13-time state champion Natalie Hughes.

“She’s something to try for,” Van Calcar said of using Hughes’ accomplishments as inspiration.

Van Calcar also draws inspiration from her father, Karl, a two-time Olympic qualifier in the steeplechase, who, along with Tim Reetz, is one of her coaches.

Reetz admitted having his top runner spend much of the season in the pool instead of on the trail was difficult.

Then again, Reetz said, “She’s such a freak athlete. Right before she went out (for regionals), she was clicking.”

Van Calcar, who plans to spend the winter focusing on having fun with her Nordic skiing, has the spring track season and two more cross-country seasons to prepare for.

■ Greg Eccher capped his senior season at Grand Junction with a 13th-place finish in the 5A boys race with a time of 16:59.2. Teammate Allen Adair took 90th (18:11).

■ Fruita Monument’s top finish in the boys race came from Chuck Bisbee, who placed 49th (17:34.5).

Fruita’s team finished 25th in the 25-team field.

■ School District 51’s lone participant in the 5A girls race, Grand Junction’s Clarissa Berry, broke the top 100 in her freshman season, placing 96th (21:38.8).

■ Jake Erickson of Palisade finished 23rd (17:25.3) in the 4A boys meet, only 17 seconds out of placing in the top 10 in an extremely competitive race.

Teammate Anders Van Calcar took 76th (18:15.6).

■ The Montrose boys got a 71st place from Ian Meek (18:10.1), and the Indians’ team finished 20th in the 24-team Class 4A boys field.

■ Freshman Lauren Cook was the first runner from the Montrose girls team to finish, placing 142nd (23:02.1), as the Indians were last among the 24 teams in 4A.

■  Delta senior Dustin Owneby placed 69th (18:08.3) in the 4A boys race.

■ Olathe senior Freddie Ramirez finished just off the podium in 11th place (17:43.2) in the Class 3A boys race.

Olathe’s team finished ninth out of 20 teams. Kurick Mattics placed 38th for the Pirates in 18:31.4, and teammate Taylor Dement was 67th (19:03.2).

■ Grand Valley junior Joel Carrasco placed 55th in the 3A boys race with a time of 18:50.4.


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