Despite missing two top runners, the Paonia girls' cross country team placed four runners in the top 20 and finished third with 37 points Saturday at the Hotchkiss Invitational.
Katya Schwieterman finished fourth with a time of 23 minutes, 35.9 seconds. Second-year runner Alex Eaton surprised herself by placing 10th. "My goal this weekend was just to keep Kat in my sight and just keep up with her as best I can," said Eaton.
"I knew that Alex was going to pick it up this weekend," said Schwieterman.
Seniors Brooke Hillman and Nora Dransfield and freshman Abby Reedy couldn't make the race, and Jade Ellenberger and Jordan Evans stepped up to finish 19th and 20th and scored 13 and 14 points.
The Delta girls placed second with 35 points. Freshman Abbree Andre is off to a good start in her high school cross country career, placing sixth with a time of 24:16.30. Beki Atchley placed ninth in 24:57.97, followed by Grace Hall (11th, 25:37.88), and Hana Hollenbeck (22nd, 28:04.69). Abby Williams and Emma Corbasson placed 23rd and 24th.
Andre is one of four varsity freshmen on the girls' team and was very happy with her sixth-place finish. Because it's a hilly and challenging course, "I felt really good about this one," she said.
For the first time ever, Delta has more girls than boys this season, said Delta head coach JB Lopez. The girls also have a strong freshman class that includes Andre, Hall, Corbasson and Zoey Williams.
Andre is also very competitive and has been the top finisher for Delta at the last three meets, opening the season with a fourth place finish at the Central Warrior Invitational. "That was a good accomplishment," she said. At the much more challenging Battle Mountain course she finished a respectable 21st.
But her main sport is soccer. "Cross country just helps my soccer and helps me stay in shape." It's off-season and she's competing on a league team. Now that she knows she can compete even against the seniors, she's having a good time and said she plans to keep running.
Montrose won the team title with 25 points, led by Megan Motley's fifth-place finish. Hannah Hatheway, a Cedaredge High School senior running for Hotchkiss, led the team with a 14th-place finish. Isabella Spano and Grace Hatheway finished 26th and 28th, respectively.
Delta County Joint School District #50, and its special counsel, Jon Olafson, have responded to the complaint filed by Cidney Fisk, a 2016 Delta High School graduate. Fisk has filed suit in federal court, accusing DHS teachers, guidance counselors, administrators and school district leadership of retaliation after she spoke out against religious activities during school hours on school property.