Delta High School's cross country season came to an end with the running of last weekend's State Cross Country Meet in Colorado Springs.
The Panthers had two runners who competed in this year's race.
A late-season arrival by freshman Tawny Roberts gave the Paonia cross country team what it needed to win this year's regional title, and a stellar performance by Paonia's top runners earned the team a second place finish and another piece of hardware for the trophy case.
Last week's Class 3A Region 1 qualifying cross country races were held at Confluence Park in Delta.
The start of the 2A boys' race was near perfect with bright skies and a gentle breeze.
Two seniors will represent Hotchkiss this Saturday at the Class 2A state cross country meet in Colorado Springs. Sam Rodriguez will make his second state cross country appearance after placing fifth at the 2A Region 4 meet.
For the first time since 2013, Paonia will send both cross country teams to state after strong showings in the Class 2A Region 4 competition last Friday at Confluence Park in Delta.
The Paonia girls placed four runners in the top 10 and scored 23 points to win the division, and the boys scored 38 points to finish third overall.
The Paonia cross country teams ended the regular season at the Montrose Relays.
Paonia appears poised to qualify a boys' team for the first time since 2013.
In the last regular meet of his four-year high school career, Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez had his fifth top-10 finish of the season at last Thursday's Rifle Cross Country Invitational. Rodriguez finished ninth out of 200 competitors with a time of 17 minutes, 16.5 seconds.
With one week remaining in regular season cross country competition, the Delta Panthers opted to travel to Rifle last week to take part in the Rifle Invitational.
Delta's John Ames clocked a 17:00.90 and placed third in boys division standings.
In cross country, this time of year a new personal best time can mean everything. With state-qualifying regional competition less than two weeks away, Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez couldn't be happier with last Friday's performance at the Delta Pantherfest invitational meet.
The 2017 cross country season is drawing to a close and teams are gearing up for the final races. The Montrose Relays are next for teams with district competition set for Oct. 20 at Confluence Park in Delta.
Paonia senior Caden Meilner is well on his way to a third consecutive state qualification in cross country after finishing 17th out of 124 runners at last Friday's Pantherfest invitational run. Meilner finished in 17 minutes, 20.17 seconds and placed fourth among class 2A runners.
At Friday's third annual Delta Sweitzer Lake Invitational, six Hotchkiss runners set new personal best times.
In the boys' division, all three competitors set new personal records, including Tevin Keller, who finished 33rd with a time of 18 minutes, 59.66 seconds, Kenny Drbohlav (34th, 19:06.58), and Will Ela (51st, 20:26.44).
Katya Schwieterman and Brooke Hillman led the Paonia cross country team to a second-place finish Saturday at the Delta Sweitzer Lake Invitational cross country meet. Schwieterman pulled out all the stops with a second-place time of 20 minutes, 44.65 seconds, topping her former personal best performance run a week earlier at the Anna Banana memorial race in Fruita.
Delta High School's cross country teams have steadily improved this season and times have come down.
Last week's Sweitzer Lake Invitational produced some good times for Delta runners.
The Paonia boys cross country team placed sixth out of 12 scoring teams Saturday at the Anna Banana Wildcat Memorial Cross Country race at Fruita, and first among 2A and 3A schools.
Senior Caden Meilner finished 11th with a time of 17 minutes, 37.3 seconds.
Delta junior John Ames is becoming a more recognized name in prep cross country on western slope courses. The determined runner has steadily improved his times and has aspirations of making the list of athletes who will travel to state competition this season.
Hotchkiss senior cross country runner Sam Rodriguez had his best finish of his career Friday after placing second at the Ouray-Ridgway Ramble at the Reservoir. Rodriguez's 20 minutes, 54 seconds time was just over four seconds off the winning time of 19:56.11, run by Ouray junior Cooper Rondinelli.
More than 220 racers from 20 schools competed in the men's division at the Eagle Valley Cross Country invitational. Harley Ewert and Caden Meilner led the Paonia Eagles to finish in 18 minutes, 15.30 seconds and 18:15.8, earning 26 and 27 points, respectively. One of three Class 2A teams at the meet, Paonia entered 12 runners and placed eighth overall with 222 points, with Logan Green, Ethan Bartlett, Ben O'Rourke and Elijah Evans rounding out scoring.
At the high-altitude Mountaineer Cowboy Invitational, Sam Rodriguez led Hotchkiss' boys to place 11th out of 87 runners with a time of 18 minutes, 2 seconds. Will Ela and Tevin Keller finished in 20:46 and 20:47, respectively, and freshman Kenny Drbohlav was close behind with a time of 20:52.
About two thirds of the way through Saturday's Hotchkiss Cross Country Invitational, Paonia senior Caden Meilner trailed Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez as they cruised across the high ridgeline of the adobe desert course. "He's just such a phenomenal runner and I kept him in my sights throughout the race," said Meilner.
After three years of placing in the top four, Montrose senior Evan Graff pulled off a convincing win Saturday at the Hotchkiss Cross Country Invitational. As part of his training, Graff delayed his start by 30 seconds and finished the course in 18 minutes, 11.35 seconds.
Despite missing two top runners, the Paonia girls' cross country team placed four runners in the top 20 and finished third with 37 points Saturday at the Hotchkiss Invitational.
Katya Schwieterman finished fourth with a time of 23 minutes, 35.9 seconds.
Heading into last Friday's Devil's Thumb Hill Climb cross country race, coaches were telling their runners that due to the technical level of the course, times weren't a priority.
Paonia head coach Brandy Sparks told her runners not to worry about times.
If Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez was uncertain about how his cross country season will go, his performance at last Friday's Devil's Thumb Hill Climb should quiet any doubts in his mind. Rodriguez placed fifth out of 107 runners.
Delta's cross country teams competed in two races this past week. One was the Devil's Thumb Hill Climb in Delta on Friday and the other competition was in Edwards at the Battle Mountain Invitational on Saturday.
Since the cross country program began in 2013, Paonia has qualified just two teams for state competition -- a boys' team in 2013, and a girls' team in 2016.
This year, Paonia appears primed to send both teams to state.
Cross country runners are a different breed of athlete. Running a 5k race isn't for everyone. There is a certain strategy for a variety of variables.
With a total of nine runners, Hotchkiss High School's cross country teams are small in numbers this year, but big on goals and enthusiasm for the coming season.
Hannah Hatheway is in her second season at Hotchkiss.
The girls cross country team from Paonia High School is going to the state meet for the first time in three years.
Brooke Hillman and Nora Dransfield finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in the individual race to pace the Eagles to state.
The Hotchkiss High School boys cross country team came to the 2A Region 4 championship race on a mission.
After finishing just short of qualifying for state last year, the Bulldogs ran all season with the intention of getting back to the state meet this weekend in Colorado Springs.
Hotchkiss High School's cross country team consisted of eight runners (five boys and three girls) this past weekend at the Delta Cross Country Pantherfest Invitational. Confluence Park, the site for the coming regional qualifying meet set for next week, hosted 75 boys and 69 girls.
Paonia assistant cross country coach Shauna Meilner passed along the following meet results from last week's Pantherfest Invitational at Confluence Park.
On Friday, Oct. 7 -- exactly two weeks before the regional cross country meet -- the Paonia Eagles had a precursor run on the same course at the Delta Pantherfest Invitational (Confluence Park).
Delta High School's boys cross country team scored just 44 points to win last Friday's Pantherfest Invitational cross country meet at Confluence Park. John Ames had his best time of the year as he crossed the finish line in 16:52.43, which was nearly nine seconds faster than last week's time at Sweitzer Lake.
The Paonia High School cross country team had its best finish of the year last weekend and the Eagles are building toward qualifying for the state meet.
The boys squad missed Caden Meilner and the girls were missing Nora Dransfield but both Eagles teams finished fourth overall in a competitive field at Ouray.
Delta's cross country teams were entered in last Saturday's Anna Banana Memorial Wildcat Invitational. Delta's boys scored 270 points and placed ninth out of 18 teams entered.
Last weekend's cross country meet for two Delta County schools was in Gunnison at the Mountaineer Cowboy Invitational.
Gunnison (50) won the boys' event with Delta finishing fifth (158) and Hotchkiss ninth (22).
Paonia assistant cross country coach Shauna Meilner prepared the following results for Paonia High School's athletes at Eagle Valley's Invitational.
On Saturday, September 17, the Paonia Eagles cross country team was one of nineteen teams represented at the Eagle Valley Invitational.
Hotchkiss High School hosted the third cross country meet of the season last Saturday morning and Delta County runners enjoyed the home field advantage.
"It's a tough course. We run it every day so we knew what to expect," Bulldogs sophomore Kaiya Firor, a state qualifier last year, said after she finished third in the girls race.
Delta High School was not able to run at Devil's Thumb last week but did make the Battle Mountain Husky Invitational on Sept. 3.
The Panthers finished fifth in the boys' race with 161 points.
Shauna Meilner attended last Saturday's Battle Mountain Huskey Invitational Cross Country Meet in Edwards. She graciously supplied the following results for Paonia High School's athletes attending the meet.
Delta High School's cross country season began last Saturday at the Basalt Longhorn Cross Country Invitational which was held at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.
There were 15 high schools registered for the 5000 meter race, both boys and girls, on Saturday.
The Hotchkiss High School cross country team is going to look a little different this year.
The Bulldogs girls team lost career standouts Mae Anderson and Sophia Schelle to graduation.
Hotchkiss High School was one of 15 teams entered (boys and girls) in the Basalt Invitational Cross Country Meet. Bulldog boys placed sixth with 182 points and the girls failed to get a team score with just two runners participating.
Soroco's Ben Kelley used just 16 minutes to traverse 5000 meters at the Basalt Longhorn Invitational on Saturday.
Paonia's Eagles were also in attendance with the boys scoring 155 points to place fifth and the girls duplicating a fifth place finish by scoring 122 points in their divisional competition.
Fall sports, with the exception of boys golf, is slated to get underway this week. Golf programs at both Delta High School and Cedaredge High School have been playing since Aug. 11.
The University of Pennsylvania women's cross country team split its squad for recent competition. Both turned in solid performances at both the Notre Dame and Paul Short Invitational Cross Country Meets in October.
The Hotchkiss girls' cross country team capped a great season of running with a fourth place finish at the state meet last Saturday morning.
The Bulldogs finished fourth for the second straight year and were led by two seniors and two freshman.
Caden Meilner never expected to make it to the state cross country championship.
"This is something I do kind of on the side.
Delta High School's cross country teams ended their seasons last week with competitions in the Colorado 4A Region 6 Cross Country Meet in Delta.
Battle Mountain won the team title in the girls' division with 31 points.
The Bulldogs are going back to state.
The Hotchkiss girls' cross country team placed three runners in the top 15 and finished second in the 2A Region 4 race last Friday at Confluence Park in Delta, qualifying for a return to this weekend's state championship race in Colorado Springs.
The October sun made its presence felt and temperatures were almost as hot as the running by the time the boys' race got underway at the Delta Sweitzer Lake Invitational last Friday.
Like the girls before them, the boys found the 5K lake course much to their liking and ripe for a personal record.
Delta paced Delta County's contingent of participants at the Pantherfest Cross Country Meet at Confluence Park.
Hotchkiss and Paonia did not have enough participants to warrant team scores in the event but did have individual runners in both the boys' and girls' competition.
Personal records were set in droves last Friday as runners got a chance to race on an almost perfectly flat 5k course around Sweitzer Lake at the Pantherfest Cross Country Invitational.
Conditions were even better for the girls squads, who ran their race under brilliant blue sky with a late morning breeze as escort.
The Paonia cross country team competed at the Anna Banana Invitational in Fruita last weekend. The race is run in honor of Anna Janowitz, a member of the Fruita cross country team who died in a tragic car accident. Janowitz loved the sport and inspired many in the cross country family.
Last week's Ramble at the Reservoir in Ridgway did not attract a large number of teams. Only eight varsity teams were listed.
A new chapter was written in an old rivalry at the Hotchkiss Cross Country Invitational girls' race last Saturday at Hotchkiss High School.
Hotchkiss senior Mae Anderson cruised to a first-place finish, completing the hilly course in the adobes behind the high school less than 25 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Chelsea Meilner of Paonia.
Three Delta County high schools saw vastly improved performances from their boys' cross country teams at the Hotchkiss Invitational last Saturday at Hotchkiss High School.
The hilly 5k course got hotter as the day went on, and the boys ran the final test of the event. Montrose standout Ian Meek was the overall winner for the second week in a row, and he did it in impressive fashion.
A young core of Bulldogs is supplemented by one outstanding senior, making the Hotchkiss boys' cross country team a potential force to be reckoned with.
The Bulldogs finished 10th in the team standings at the Delta Invitational last Friday at Confluence Park and are content to build a strong foundation that will hopefully peak at regionals and state.
The Hotchkiss girls' cross country team finished fourth in the state last year and early results this season show that the Bulldogs might well be among 2A's best once again.
Senior Mae Anderson finished second overall, and the Bulldogs made a strong showing at the Delta Cross Country Invitational last Friday morning at Confluence Park.
The Paonia girls' cross country squad showed that the Eagles have one of its deepest, most talented teams yet.
Leading the way last Friday was senior Chelsea Meilner, who completed the course in 20:23.75 to finish fifth overall.
Paonia's boys' cross country team continues to make strides and is starting to set higher goals for itself as more and more talented Eagles join the squad.
In the second meet of the year at Confluence Park in Delta last Friday morning, nearly all of the Eagles posted times that improved upon their first meet marks.
Delta High School hosted last week's Delta Invitational Cross Country Meet at Confluence Park.
Grand Junction High School won both the boys' and girls' division team titles with 72 and 59 points respectively.
Prep cross-country competition got underway this past weekend. Delta's and Paonia High School's teams chose to attend the Warrior Invitational at Matchett Park on Saturday. Hotchkiss competed in Basalt at the Longhorn Stampede.
Delta High School's cross-country roster lists 26 athletes. Seven of those listed are female. The senior and freshman classes boast eight runners each. The freshman class has six athletes and this year's junior class has four on the roster.
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