Times Staff Writer
GHS Cross Country — The Gunnison High School (GHS) cross country team took care of business once again this past Friday at the Eric Wolff Invitational — with the boys finishing in first and the girls in second.
“This has been a great season with a great group of kids,” said head coach Lance Betts. “They are motivated and are working hard.”
With the final meet of the season concluded, the Cowboys hope to put the final touches on their performances this week at practice in preparation for the 3A Region 1 Championships — which start tomorrow, Oct. 19 at 11 a.m at Aspen High School.
“Obviously, I want both teams to make it to state,” said Betts, “but even more than that, I believe both teams have what it takes to compete at the top level. Ideally, we would walk out with two 3A Region 1 championships.”
The GHS boys hope to continue their dominant streak. They’re looking to earn a sixth straight 3A Region 1 Championship.
Representing GHS this year for the boys at regionals are Colton Stice, Alex Baca, Brennen Stice, Brayden O’Neill, Connor Zummach, Wulf Stark, Jackson Baker, Jacob Billingsley and Zeb Alexander.
Out of the nine runners, four are ranked in the top 20.
Stice and Baca lead the way for the Cowboys, ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. Stice is ranked No. 3 for his time of 16:16.97 at the Grand Junction Tiger Invitational — which he won.
Similar to Stice, Baca is ranked fourth for his time of 17:13.82 in Grand Junction, where he finished third.
Despite Stice’s ranking of third, he is a favorite to win the 3A Region 1 Championship, as he won it last year with a time of 16:45.53.
Brennen Stice and O’Neill also are worth keeping an eye on. They’ll enter the 3A Region 1 Championships ranked 14th and 19th, respectively.
Stice’s No. 14 ranking also comes from the Grand Junction meet, where he finished seventh with a time of 17:59.07.
O’Neill had a slow start to the season but came roaring back, earning his rank of 19th after coming in seventh this past Friday at the Eric Wolff Invitational in Monte Vista with a time of 18:24.61.
Last year at the 3A Region 1 Championships, Baca finished in fifth place with a time of 17:23.60, while Brennan Stice finished ninth.
Flying under the radar
That describes this year’s girl's team, which may shock a few competitors at regionals.
“The girls are strong,” stated Betts. “Right now, I think we are the darkhorse, because no one knows what we’ve really got. I think they have the opportunity to surprise some people.”
Last season at the 3A Region 1 Championships, the girls came in third place — extending their 16-year streak of sending a girls team to state.
Representing the Cowboys this year at the 3A Region 1 Championships are Aulea Rollins, Ivy Pelletier, Esperenza Antonarez, Anna Cattles, Annelise Pelletier, Joslyn Hays, Leah Weak and Clara Schulte.
Rollins and Ivy Pelletier lead the way going into 3A Region 1 Championships, ranked No. 10 and No. 12, respectively.
Both have been a dominant force all year for the team, and both runners have finished in the top 10 in every invitational in which they’ve competed — with both recording multiple top-five finishes.
Rollins finished in the top five at Devil’s Thumb and in Grand Junction, while Pelletier won the Devil’s Thumb and Eric Wolff Invitational, and came in fifth at the Buena Vista Invitational.
Last year at 3A Region 1 Championships, Rollins finished 12th with a time of 20:35.40, while Pelletier finished 15th with a time of 20:49.80.
(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or email@example.com.)