Andre, Ames top XC runners for Delta

By Wayne Crick

The 2017 cross country season is drawing to a close and teams are gearing up for the final races. The Montrose Relays are next for teams with district competition set for Oct. 20 at Confluence Park in Delta.

Last week's competition was also held at Confluence Park with many competitors getting a chance to run the state qualifying course.

The first competition last week was in the girls high school division. Nine schools and 117 athletes were signed up to test the course at the Pantherfest Cross Country Invitational.

Eagle Valley's Joslin Blair won the individual competition with a time of 17:53.78. Paonia's Katya Schwieterman was the first area runner to cross the finish line in a time of 20:38.09. Olathe's Lupita Garcia was 25th in 20:50.47.

Delta High School's first runner to cross the finish line was Aubree Andre with a time of 21:30.82 in 39th place. Right behind Andre was teammate Grace Hall whose time was 21:39.89.

Beki Atchley placed 59th with her time of 22:51.06. Her time could well have been better had she not stopped to render help to a fallen competitor near mile marker two.

Delta's fourth runner to place was Hana Hollenbeck (72nd) followed by Abby Williams in 80th place.

John Ames, usually the first Delta County runner to finish in the boys race, was second last week. Hotchkiss' Sam Rodriguez was ahead of Ames with his time of 16:47.73 and placed eighth. Ames finished 10th with a time of 16:50.41.

The time for Ames was not his best and he was frustrated he had not done better. Montrose's Evan Graff won the race with a time of 15:53.53 and brother Sean Graff was second (16:10.83). The difference in time for Ames means there's work to be done. "My legs were tired this week. I work hard each practice and go as hard as I can always. My body doesn't respond like it did early in the season," noted Ames. Like all athletes who've competed all season long, Ames is looking for some rest between now and next week's qualifying race at Confluence Park.

Delta's second place runner was Shad Lewis who had a time of 17:24.57 and placed 20th.

Thomas Neil had Delta's third best time (19:02.42) and placed 72nd. Issac Vader was 77th (19:13.900) and Andrew Toole (20:26.94) placed 97th to give the Panthers an eighth-place finish out of the 10 teams that had the required number of placers. Overall there were 124 competitors in the race.