The Paonia girls cross country team is favored to win the 2A Region 4 title this Friday at Confluence Park in Delta; the boys team is in a close race with Ouray for the regional title.
"For the girls to win it, it's going to come down to the third runner," said head coach Brandy Sparks. Junior Katya Schwieterman is ranked second in the region with a time of 20 minutes, 8.95 seconds, and Tawny Roberts has the third best time of 20:19.74 after slashing about 40 seconds off her previous best time at the Oct. 5 Pantherfest.
Senior Alexandra Eaton is ranked 12th with a time of 22:11.47, and Sofia Gonzales is ranked 14th after improving her time to 22:34.40 at the Pantherfest.
With five top-30 runners and No. 1 ranked Chloe Veilleux, Paonia will be competing with Soroco for the title. In the event of a tie, the fourth-place runner's score will determine the regional winner.
On the boys side, Paonia has five runners ranked in the top 20 in the region. Ethan Bartlett's season best time of 16:27.84 is the second-fastest in the region, and Harley Ewert is in the top 10 with a time of 18:10.33. The team win could be determined by either freshman Alyster Birk (18:32.11), senior Logan Green (18:35.48), or freshman Alejandro Garcia (18:57.06).
With five runners ranked in the top 20, Ouray also has a shot at the regional title.
The girls' race begins at noon, followed by the boys race at approximately 12:30 p.m. The top five teams and top 15 placers in each of the four regions earn a trip to the Class 2A State Championship meet on Oct. 27.