The Durango High School girls cross-country team had five runners place in the top nine and seven finish in the top 12 Thursday at the Southwestern League championships in Grand Junction, helping DHS claim the team title.
Durango, ranked No. 3 in class 4A, won the girls league title with 31 points, finishing 13 points ahead of Fruita Monument, the No. 8-ranked team in Class 5A. Fruita, which beat DHS by a single point at last year’s league meet, was led by the individual champion, Jadyn Heil (17:27.8).
“They had great pack running once again,” said DHS head coach Ken Flint, noting that the team’s top five runners all finished with 30 seconds of each other, which was its lowest pack time of the year.
“That’s getting it done,” Flint said.
With several non-SWL teams also running in the race, Steamboat Springs finished third with 100 points, followed by Montrose (131), Central Grand Junction (155), Moffat County (156), Grand Junction (171), Delta (181) and Palisade (203).
The Durango boys, meanwhile, finished second behind Central, 69-32. The Durango boys entered the week ranked No. 6 in 4A. Central was No. 4.
Leading the charge for the Demons again were seniors Land Lambert and Damian Frausto.
Lambert won the race and set a new course record, crossing first in 15 minutes,17.7 seconds, which was 5 seconds faster than the previous mark. Frausto finished second in 15:27.3.
Senior Angela McManus led the DHS girls, finishing third in 18:43.5. Flint said it was the first time she broke 19 minutes.
Senior Abby Fehr was the second Demon to finish, placing fifth out of 65 runners in 19:02.1. Freshman Brynn Aggeler finished sixth in 19:10.9, junior Nina Quayle crossed eighth in 19:12.6, and freshman Dew Ilg finished ninth in 19:12.7 to round out DHS’ team score.
Freshman Sophia Voss finished 10th in 19:13.3, senior Mia Whistler crossed 12th in 19:33.2, senior Angelina Kondrat placed 14th in 19:43.0, and senior Tea Foorrest placed 16th in 19:47.8.
“The girls are deep, and there’s a lot of competition for spots, so they keep pushing each other to faster times,” Flint said. “The freshman girls performed exceptionally well.”
The girls were also without Willow Lott, the team’s top runner for most of the season. Lott was resting for regional championships.
Sophomore Nathaniel Ellis was the third Demon to finish, crossing 11th out of 78 runners in 16:29.5. Sophomore William McFarlene placed 29th overall in 17:43.9, freshman Nove Tocco finished 30th in 17:45.1 to round out DHS’ team score. Sophomore Charlie Dillman placed 32nd in 17:49.0, sophomore Thomas Pope finished 47th in 18:37.6, freshman Brodie Dorko placed 49th in 18:42.7, and sophomore Micah Zastrocky placed 61st in 19:21.4.
“I’m proud of how hard they’ve worked this year to get where they’re at,” Flint said.
Finishing behind the Demons in the team race were Fruita Monument (74), Grand Junction (101), Steamboat (139), Moffat County (161), Rifle (180), Montrose (183) and Delta (264).
Durango’s junior varsity girls also won the meet with a perfect score of 15. Junior Avery Cerwin won the race in 20:58.9.
Durango’s junior varsity boys finished third, led by third-place finisher senior Jacob Fenberg (19:14.2).
The Demons will now prepare for the regional championships Oct. 21 in Pueblo. The top four teams will advance to state.
Cheyenne Mountain will provide the most competition to Durango. Its boys are ranked second in the nation. Its girls team is ranked No. 9 in Class 4A.
“I’m pleased with where we’re at with both squads,” Flint said. “We’ll just keep working hard and go towards our goals at regionals and state.”