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Durango runners fare well at Nike Cross Regionals

Burns, Tichi lead group to strong finishes

The Durango High School cross-country teams brought an end to their seasons on Saturday at the Nike Cross Regionals Southwest (NXR) in Casa Grande, Arizona, and the Demons fared well against elite competition from across the region.

The Demons, which ran under the team name Rooted XC, sent both their full girls and boys teams down on Saturday, and the boys finished in 26th out of 30 teams, while the girls took 18th out of 28. Draper XC out of Draper, Utah, won the race with 89 points, while Vista Nation of Highlands Ranch took second with 131 points, and Hogsback XC out of Dakota Ridge took third with 173 points.

David McMillan filled in for DHS coach Ken Flint, and thought both teams ran well in tough conditions.

“(I’m) really proud of the kids and how they competed,” McMillan said. “We had a goal to finish in the top-15 teams, and the girls did that when individuals are taken out of the team scoring. The boys missed having the scoring punch that Logan Moore gave them, but still everyone ran well.”

On the girls side, Lone Peak XC of Highland, Utah, won with 95 points, Valor Christian XC was second with 119 points and REAL Training out of Niwot was third with 130 points.

Cole Sprout from Valor Christian won the race in 14:41, while Carson Belnap from Stansbury, Utah, was second in 14:42, and Cruz Culpepper from Niwot was third in 14:54.

“The course was heavy and wet after four days of rain, and if we look at Cole Sporut’s and others’ times, they were 20 to 30 seconds slower than Desert Twilight,” McMillan said. “So our kids, most of whom where within five to 10 seconds off their season and lifetime bests, ran well.”

Luke Tichi crossed the line first for the DHS boys team with a time of 15 minutes, 36.6 seconds, which was 40th overall. Paul Knight was the second-highest finisher in 15:43 in 48th. Land Lambert was the third-highest finisher in 16:53, which was 209th. Aiden Quayle was 233rd in 17:28, and Michael Benner (18:31) and Jack Benner (18:45) were 247th and 248th, respectively.

On the girls side, Madeleine Burns finished in 28th with a time of 18:08. Freshman Willow Lott took 123rd as she crossed the finish line in 19:19. Kiara Hamlin took 138th in 19:26, Tea Forrest was 144th in 19:29, and Ashley Forrest was not far behind and took 152nd in 19:35. Nina Quayle took 224th in 21:41.

Riley Stewart from Cherry Creek won in 17:03, Eliza Arrington of Lone Peak was second in 17:18, while Samantha Blair of Eagle Valley was third in 17:19.

McMillan thinks the Demons will be poised for another strong season next year.

“Both squads are young and will graduate just two on both the girls and boys sides,” McMillan said. “This expereince will stand them well in the future. The fields were big and extremely competitive, and the kids learned how to compete while in a dense pack for almost the entire race.”


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