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Photo by Wayne Crick Hotchkiss’ Hannah Hatheway has been dedicated to improving her times from the start of the season.
Photo by Tamie Meck Hotchkiss’ Sam Rodriguez will be one Bulldog to watch closely this Friday when the 2A cross country qualifying races get underway.

Rodriguez, Hatheway lead XC surge

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In the last regular meet of his four-year high school career, Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez had his fifth top-10 finish of the season at last Thursday's Rifle Cross Country Invitational. Rodriguez finished ninth out of 200 competitors with a time of 17 minutes, 16.5 seconds.

Hotchkiss opted to forego the team tradition of running in the Montrose Relays to compete at Rifle, which was a brand new and unfamiliar course for the team.

The boys placed ninth out of 17 scoring teams. In his first cross country race of the season, junior Nick Jung finished 57th with a personal-best time of 19:04.90.

Freshman Kenny Drbohlav, whose time of 19:06.58 at the Sept. 29 meet at Sweitzer Lake set a freshman boys school record, finished in 19:28.90. Tevin Keller finished in 19:31.20, and Will Ela finished in 20:11.3.

The Class 2A Region 4 races are scheduled to start at noon Friday at Confluence Park in Delta. The top 15 finishers and top four teams qualify for Colorado High School Activities Association state competition on Oct. 28 at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.

Rodriguez, who is ranked fourth in the region by Mile Split heading into this week's state-qualifying 2A Region 4 meet, finished four seconds ahead of third-ranked Patrick Scoggins of Rangely. Keller, Jung, Drbohlav and Ela are all ranked in the top 40 in the region.

In the girls' division, Hannah Hatheway has run well ahead of her 2016 times all season and is ranked 10th in the region. At Rifle the senior from Cedaredge placed 54th out of 151 runners with a time of 22:42.10.

Mariah Griffith, a two-time state qualifier who last year ran for Paonia, had a top-100 time of 24:40.80 at Rifle, Isabella Spano finished in 25:52.40, and Grace Hatheway finished in 28:17.40. All four runners are ranked in the top 30 in the region.

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