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Paonia harriers run Eagle Valley course

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Photo courtesy Shauna Meilner The start of last week's Eagle Valley Invitational Cross Country Meet included 178 runners from 19 schools in the girls race. The boys race featured 218 runners to start that race.

Paonia assistant cross country coach Shauna Meilner prepared the following results for Paonia High School's athletes at Eagle Valley's Invitational.

On Saturday, September 17, the Paonia Eagles cross country team was one of nineteen teams represented at the Eagle Valley Invitational.

With its green golf course setting and mild terrain, it has become a favorite amongst Colorado courses. It is the largest of the meets that Paonia will attend this season, with 218 varsity boys and 170 varsity girls completing the race.

Shaving 58 seconds off his season-best time, junior Caden Meilner crossed the line in 18:00, finishing 20th overall and moving up to number eight in the rankings for the Western Slope 2A Region 4 League.

Senior Tim Helmer was second for the Eagles with his time of 19:35; he is currently ranked 21st in the region.Third for the Eagles was junior Ben O'Rourke, who took more than two minutes off his previous time on this course to finish in 20:05. Elijah Evans, a promising freshman on the Eagles roster, was not far behind with his time of 20:09. Sophomore David Lozano finished in 21:31, while juniors Hunter Norris and Isaac Stanfield set new personal records in 22:52 and 24:04 respectively.

Newcomer to the sport, junior Michael Hofmann, also set a personal best with a time of 25:10. In current Western Slope 2A Region 4 rankings, the Eagles have six runners in the top 30, with the fastest meets of the year coming up in the weeks ahead.

The Eagles must finish as one of the top four teams at Regionals in order to qualify for the State Cross Country Championships on October 29.

Paonia's girls were minus junior stand-out Brooke Hillman and freshman Katya Schwieterman this weekend.

Five varsity girls completed the race for Paonia, led by junior Nora Dransfield with her time of 23:34.

Sophomore Alex Eaton finished in a new personal record of 25:23, with senior Macy O'Rourke rounding out the top three for the Eagles in 26:00. Senior Courtney VanVleet completed the course in 31:05, a season-best time, and freshman Mercedes Norris posted a 34:07.

In looking at Western Slope 2A Region 4 rankings at the season's half-way point, five of the Eagles are ranked within the Top 25.

The Eagles will compete at Ridgway State Park on Friday, September 23, in the Ouray-Ridgway Ramble at the Reservoir.

Photo courtesy Shauna Meilner Paonia’s Ben O’Rourke was the third runner for the Eagles to cross the finish line over the weekend at Eagle Valley’s Invitational Meet. O’Rourke shaved more than two minutes off his previous best time on the course.
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