Hotchkiss senior Cody Bartlett made the best of the home-course advantage to win Saturday's Hotchkiss Cross Country Invitational in 18 minutes, 38 seconds. Bartlett held back the first part of the course, which makes a moderate climb for about a quarter-mile before turning onto a mostly-uphill jeep road. Then the course gets challenging.
"I know what the hills do to you," said Bartlett of the course, considered one of the toughest in the state. "I knew those kids just had too much adrenaline. They went out too fast. I knew I would catch them."
Bartlett said he took the lead at about the half-mile point and never relinquished it.
Palisade's Anders Vancalcar, who placed third, stuck with him for about a mile and a half, then dropped back.
Teammate Andrew Tiedemann placed second with a time of 19 minutes, 4.3 seconds and about a half-second ahead of Vancalcar. Kurt Katzdorn placed fourth overall and Tyrell Clock 15th. Taylor Schreiner finished fifth for the Bulldogs and 28th out of 82 runners. Hotchkiss won the team trophy with 22 points.
Recent dry weather made for a very soft, slow course. "I don't like it because the harder the surface, the quicker you can take steps," said Bartlett, who was hoping to break the course record set in 2011 by Delta's Jacob Ames. "I was definitely going for it."
Bartlett finished 30 seconds shy of the course record. He'll aim for the mid-16-minute mark at this Saturday's Anna Banana meet at Fruita. It's a fast, solid course, said Bartlett. "It's where a lot of personal records are set."
Paonia's Jason Sturgis placed 11th overall, Jacob Helleckson was 24th, and Ethan Ferguson placed 31st. Paonia placed sixth with 102 points.
While most of the team ran the night prior at the Ouray Invitational, Delta sent a contingency of nine, led by Jonathan Kinderknecht, who placed ninth with a time of 19:45. Jacob Davignon placed 20th in 20:51, and Nathanael Kathrein 36th in 22:05. Delta placed fifth with 93 points.
Natalie Anderson ran a time of 21 minutes, three seconds and Jenni Celis ran 21:31 to finish one and two for Hotchkiss in the girls' division. The duo took the lead by the quarter-mile point and were never challenged.
Hotchkiss placed four runners in the top 10, including freshmen Mae Anderson (yes, Natalie's sister), who was fifth, and Sophia Schelle, who finished ninth with a time of 23 minutes, 19 seconds. Tiffany Clock finished 11th, Nilam Hypio was 38th and Laura Egidi 43rd.
Anderson set the girls' course record of 20:06 her freshman year, but fell shy of her own record by almost a minute. "The valleys were super, super soft," said Anderson, which made for slower times. The junior said she has made it a goal before she graduates to re-set her own course record.
Delta freshman Kaylee Dunham placed 12th with a time of 23:27, Mykayla Music placed 27th and Abbi Beckwith 30th. Delta placed fifth with 80 points.
Paonia freshman Chelsea Mielner outpaced her teammates to place 10th in 23:19. "She's getting used to running in big races," said Paonia coach Richard Hypio. "She's cruisin'."
Taylor Polson placed 13th in 23:46, Chelsy Reed 14th (24:03), Mandy Bushta 18th (24:53) and Braiden Clement 21st (25:37) to give the Paonia girls a third-place finish with 49 points.
Hotchkiss head coach Kelly Cowan said the event was a success. "We have a core of volunteers who have been with us the last 12 years," since the race began, said Cowan. "We couldn't do it without them."