Middle Park XC
An early season goal for both the boys and girls MPHS XC teams was to win the league championship. Friday's race at Platte Canyon was the chance both squads had been waiting for. Both Panther teams fielded full (and mostly healthy) groups of runners. Running conditions were near perfect. The course featured rolling hills, both singletrack and doubletrack, open fields, and wooded areas.
The girls raced first and were quick out of the gate, putting themselves into near-perfect position in the first 400 meters. Sierra Smith led out with a top runner from Clear Creek, while Alyssa Petersen worked hard with a chase pack made up of Platte Canyon and Lake County runners. Hayley Friesen and Raelee Granger worked hard in the main chase pack, scoring valuable points for the Panthers. Johanna Schneider worked through much of the race field to score for the Panthers as well. In the end, the Lady Panthers put five runners in the top ten, placing 2, 5, 8, 9, and 10 for a total score of 34 point.
The boys went into the race as an underdog, having lost to the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) several times this season. A combination of good race strategies, attention to detail, and quality pack runners helped the Panthers overcome DSST and win the league title. Similar to the girls, the boys got off to a great start, getting into prime position in the quarter mile. Ty Scholl went off on a two man breakaway with the top DSST runner. He eventually drop him to win the race. Eric Berry battled hard in a three man group, taking fifth place. Brevik Petersen found himself in a battle with one other runner for most of the race, running about 30 seconds ahead of the main chase pack. Through three runners, the Panthers were down by 1 point in team scoring. The pack points were going to prove once again to be most important for a team victory. The Panthers packed in runners Aaron Sanders, Henry Hoyhtya, Ben Johnson, Mark Knight all before any other team was able to get their 5th runner to the line, ensuring the victory. The Panthers also scored five in the top ten, placing 1, 5, 7, 9, and 10 for a total of 32 points.
Both squads are off for a week. The regional race in Delta will be the next racing action for the Panthers.
The Anna Banana Invitation in Grand Junction, Colorado is known for being one of the fastest courses in the state. The Middle Park XC squads have worked hard over hilly and mountainous courses over the past three weeks and were ready for a flat, speedy, and wide-open race.
The Lady Panthers got the morning started, racing just after a morning rain shower in a perfect fifty-five degrees. Every single girl went out and not only ran a season's best time, but a career best time. Scoring for the ladies were Alyssa Petersen (21:15), Johanna Schneider (21:58), Raelee Granger (21:59), Haley Weimer (23:23), and Jesse Hoyhtya (25:09). The biggest personal best of the day was by Madison DeCicco, who went three minutes and forty seconds under her previous mark.
The Boys squad saw strong pack work and several breakthrough performance days. Nearly everyone racing ran career bests on top of their season bests. Brevik Petersen went sub-18 for the first time ever with a 17:49. Ben Johnson went sub-19 for the first time in his career with an 18:44. The pack of Henry Hoyhtya, Mark Knight, and Dylan Cormican all went sub-20 minutes.
While both teams were missing several runners, they each had a great showing and represented the program well. Next week the teams will travel to Littleton for the Dakota Ridge Invitational on Wednesday, and to Sheridan on Saturday for the Ramcharger Invitational.
Link to full results:
Note: I believe there is an error in the girls results. At some point early on, there seems to be an oddity, as to our times everyone should be up one time/placing.
The MPHS XC Invite has grown about 10-20% each year since I (coach Hicks) took over 5 seasons back. This years edition had 12 teams, 100 HS girls and 127 HS boys. Only 2 boy broke the 20 minute barrier and only a single girl was able to break the 23 minute mark. The 465 feet of climbing took runners all around the Nordic Center at Snow Mountain Ranch, the YMCA of the Rockies.
The Panther Boys team got the day underway. Tyler Scholl took a pack of 4 boys out with him, slowly dropping one after another. He finished in first, just ahead of the DSST top runner. Brevik Petersen scored second, cracking the top 20% of the field. Mark Knight, Henry Hoyhtya and Dylan Cormican rounded out the scoring for the Panthers, who took 6th place on the day.
The Lady Panthers ran to a solid 5th place finish in a competitive race. Sierra Smith paced the team, coming in a respectable 15th place. Alyssa Petersen (24th), Lizzy Barker (27th), Hayley Friesen (38th) and Haley Weimer (44th) also scored for the Panthers. The Ladies are showing a series of strong starts and are piecing together solid pack efforts.
See Results Attached Below:
What can be said about Clear Creek that has not been said about it before? "It's tough. Killer. Brutal." It is all so true. This course is downright the hardest course I have ever seen. It is rumored it is probably in the top 2 or 3 toughest course in the state of Colorado. What could make it worse?
While it did not rain on the athletes during race time, it rained just enough before the race to dampen the grass, socks and shoes. This did not create any issues for the Panthers and if anything, created a bit of excitement on the course for both teams. There was a long delay before the Boys race, as a East Grand Middle School runner fell, and badly injuring his arm. Best of luck to him on healing up and running/skiing soon.
The Boys squad had two objectives in this midsized meet: get out to a good start in the opening flat sections and to move up/maintain in the race packs throughout the race. Mission accomplished. All top 7 runners today got out of the gate and raced bravely in the opening 400m. As oppose to the nearly poor start in St Vrain, the Clear Creek start went well for the Panthers and put them into position to race in the correct packs in the rest of the race. Ty Scholl went on to win the race, fending off a couple of top-notch runners from DSST. Brevik Petersen came in 6th overall and Henry Hoyhtya came in 9th. Mark Knight rounded out the scoring for the Panthers with Dylan Cormican and Ben Johnson in tow. The Boys placed second behind DSST 16 to 29. Come league, this will be a matchup to watch, but for now, the Panthers play underdog.
The Lady Panthers had similar goals. They executed them to near perfection level. Missing Sierra Smith for the afternoon was unfortunate, but the Panthers still got off to a great start, putting several runners in the top 15 going into the 400m mark. At the 2000m checkpoint, the Lady Panthers had slipped into second place and were looking at a 29 to 32 deficit. This all changed as the Ladys marched down the fast middle mile of the course, pulling ahead by narrow margins at the 4000m point. Hayley Friesen, Haley Weimer and Johanna Schneider charged up the pack, gaining several points. In the front, Lizzy Barker led the way, placing third with Alyssa Petersen coming in at 5th as part of the same chase pack. The Ladys did end up winning 30 to 46 (Clear Creek) to 44 (Platte Canyon).
WK3 Part II is this weekend. Home meet on Saturday. Several rematches from Clear Creek and many new schools to face. Should be a great race.
The Lyons St Vrain invitational is both our earliest invitational of the season, as well as one of the more competitive races we race all season. Several of the top 2A and 3A teams are in our race division.
The girls started off the day in dew dampened grass. The Lady Panthers were paced by Sierra Smith and Alyssa Petersen. The entire scoring squad of the girls got off to a great start, getting into good position in the first 250m. By the 1600, many girls were on pace for a great race. As fitness and race strategy improves, the Ladies will be in great shape. The boy's Squad was paced up front by Ty Scholl and Brevik Petersen. Great opening miles by the boys. A better start in the opening 400m will put the boy's squad in better position in future races.
Runners and Parents:
This weekend is the Lyons St. Vrain Invite. It is most likely the largest race we will run this year, other than State. So, that said, get ready to enjoy a HUGE XC race. Lyons puts on a great meet. One quick reminder, no dogs are allowed on the grounds during the event. All bus times and meet locations should be posted on the travel details sheet on the XC page. Race post times are on the meet details page. Some runners will be racing JV at this event. They will be notified Thursday at practice, or have already been notified.
The MPHS XC running team kicked off the 2016 season with a scrimmage in Hot Sulphur Springs, CO against in-county West Grand XC. What started as a soggy day turned into a beautiful day for running. Nearly all returning runners ran a course personal best and all new runners finished their race!
The Middle Park High School XC teams will be presenting at the East Grand School District School Board meeting on November 17th at 6pm. The team will be introduced and congratulated on their season accomplishments.
Penrose Event Center has been the home of the XC championship for the past three seasons. 2015 brought a familiar venue, with a completely different course. The start was moved (to an equally poor location) and the course was edited to make for a faster course. Many runners finished about a minute ahead of their previous course bests.
The Middle Park boys team took nine runners to the State Meet, which were the same nine that ran the previous week at the Regional race in Pagosa. Mark Simmons and Tyler Scholl went into the race both ranked in the top ten, and performed accordingly, taking home a 9th (Simmons) and a 13th (Scholl). Scholl was the top finishing Freshman overall in all classifications by 20 seconds. Simmons reached the podium for the first time, as he ended his MPHS XC career. Brevik Petersen, Corbin Frick and Mark Knight all scored for the Panthers, which placed 16th of 20 teams at the meet. The team was able to beat some squads that they had lost to earlier in the season, which was evidence of a strong race.
Congratulations to all.
The Middle Park Panthers had a successful weekend down in Pagosa Springs. Making the seven hour trek across the state was well worth the payout, as the boys team qualified for state, as well as crowned the regional champ.
Mark Simmons led the pack out of the gate and never looked back. He ran a course record of 16:40, beating the field by 30+ seconds. Ty Scholl led the chase pack, but was passed by a few opponents in the final quarter, finishing 5th. The pack of Brevik Petersen, Corbin Frick, and Mark Knight scored for the Panthers as well, with Henry Hoyhtya just a few places back.
The Lady Panthers ran with four runners, which did not allow them to score as a team. Alyssa Petersen and Raelee Granger put in best efforts to make the State Meet as individuals, but came up short. Both were in contention through the mile, and Petersen was even in contact with 15th place heading into the final 1000m. Petersen eventually place 21st, Granger back in 31st. Finishing her short XC career was Lauren Burg, who had a great day finishing in 36th place, which was about halfway up the field.
Congratulations to the boys for continuing the season for one more week. A special congrats to Mark Simmons, who clawed his way from being nearly last (the 72nd of 80) finisher in 2012, to Regional Champ in 2015.
Great season to the girls. It was a tough break, but I am proud of each and everyone of you for battling on and off the course.
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