GHS girls emerge as 3A threat

Notch perfect score at Monte Vista prior to regionals

Brandon Warr

Times Staff Writer

 

GHS Cross Country — Over the last few years, the Gunnison High School (GHS) boys cross country team has garnered the lion’s share of attention for its accomplishments, while the girls have remained in the shadows. However, the GHS girls have shown throughout the 2017 season that they too are a force to be reckoned with.

“The girls team has opened a lot of eyes around this part of the state,” said head coach Gregg Smith. “It has been fun to see their progress.”

The girls posted the first perfect score in recent memory for GHS this past weekend, taking first, second, third and fourth places at the Eric Wolf Invitational in Monte Vista. Freshman Ivy Pelletier finished on top, with Aulea Rollins, Annelise Pelletier and Bria Rickert rounding out the top four places.

Both the GHS girls and boys teams won the invitational.

“We had taken the previous week off from racing,” said Smith. “It was a good tuneup (for regionals). We got to see some regional teams we hadn’t seen yet, and it was a fast course. We hadn’t seen too many of those lately.”

The guys were nearly as dominant in Monte Vista, as Colton Stice took first. Garrett Butts finished in fifth place, followed by Jon Wilkinson in seventh.  

Last season at the 3A Region 1 championships, the girls team finished third. Yet, this year they  expect to finish first.  

“My goal is to have fun at my first regional race,” said freshman Rollins, who’s emerged as a frontrunner this year for GHS. “But I expect us to finish first as a team.”

The girls will face tough competition. There are six strong teams looking to secure one of the four spots available to advance to state. That doesn’t scare Smith. He’s confident that his girls “are capable of earning a top spot at the meet.”

The standout from the group this season has been Ivy Pelletier, who has managed to finish in the top three among the GHS girls in each meet this year. Rickert is the only other GHS girl to win a meet this season.

After winning the 3A Region 1 championship last season, the boys team is looking to reclaim their title. Yet, it won’t be easy as multiple squads are hoping to dethrone the Cowboys’ three-year reign as 3A Region 1 champions.

With chsaanow.com reporting on Aug. 18 that the GHS boys may be a contender for state this year after placing in the top five the last three years, it will be no surprise that every team’s goal  throughout Colorado will be to beat the Cowboys.

That doesn’t faze Stice, who expects the GHS boys to “win the fourth consecutive 3A Regional title.” During the 2017 season, Stice, Butts and Wilkinson have placed among the top three GHS runners at each meet.

With regionals next on tap, the Cowboys have been working hard, with workouts geared toward “adding speed,” said coach Smith.

The 3A Region 1 championships take place tomorrow, Oct. 20 in Delta.

 

(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or brandon@gunnisontimes.com.)

 

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