Loveland meet a sweet one for Berthoud cross country

By Kristi Leonard

The Surveyor

This week saw the return to racing for Berthoud High’s cross-country runners at the Loveland Sweetheart Meet. Ally Padilla, now healthy after an injury forced her out of competition in the first meet of the season, completed Friday’s race as if she had never been out. The sophomore placed eighth with a personal-best time of 20:41, currently ranking her 39th in the state in 3A competition. Ellie Sundheim was the second Spartan across the line, finishing in 24th place in 21:29. Alex Schultz was 31st, Gigi Babyak was 51st and Kim Blough placed 58th to round out the scoring for Berthoud. Paulina Kress, who is nursing an ankle injury, was 62nd. Emma Lundgreen and Gabriela Hernandez placed 66th and 69th, respectively. The girls team placed fifth overall with all schools that beat them being in larger classifications – Loveland (5A), Golden (4A), Northridge (4A), and Cheyenne East (4A). The girls were without senior Julianne Evans Dennison who was visiting potential colleges.

Photo by Rebekah Gutierrez – Berthoud cross country runners Kim Blough, Carlos Gutierrez and Audri Gutierrez wait in the rain for the awards ceremony at the Loveland Sweetheart meet. Gutierrez won her first medal in high school placing 8th in the junior varsity race.

“Alex has been training consistently and now it is coming together for her. Ellie has been training really hard this season, putting in a lot of base work. We expected her to be somewhat tired from all of the miles she has been doing. We haven’t really done a lot of fast stuff yet, so when we start that and give her a little rest, she’ll be up even closer to Ally. The key to qualifying to state is our fifth runner. Gigi, Kim, Gabby (Hernandez) and Emma are coming along. Paulina is nursing her ankle, but should be healthy by conference and regionals,” commented Coach Jordan Jennings. “With Julianne, we probably would have been up another place in the team results, but this was a good meet for the girls.”

Two key members of last year’s top-10 boys state team were back on the starting line for the first time this season after illness and injury. The race plan was for Eli Greenslit and Kyle Conlon to run the first two miles with teammate Bryce Mitts and then move up in the third mile. The plan was followed with Mitts setting the pace until the final mile. From that point, Conlon and Greenslit passed 10 to 15 runners, catching up to fellow Spartan Tyler Herndon who would finish in 38th place. Conlon was 39th, Greenslit 41st, and Mitts 52nd. Dylan Carder continued his top-10 run finishing in eighth place in the varsity competition in 17:23. Last year he placed fifth in the junior-varsity competition in 18:55.

“Dylan ran awesome. He is handling everything. He is doing the small stuff like getting enough sleep, eating and taking care of himself. He is believing he can be up front and is inserting himself in the top-10,” exclaimed Jennings.

Lane Pirkey ran his fastest time of the season to finish 20th. Carlos Gutierrez, Brent Hoogland and Joe Malinowski come through shortly after in 28th, 32nd, and 35th places, respectively. The entire Berthoud team was in the top half of all finishers.

“The guys are putting themselves up near the front of the race in the beginning, like they need to do to finish with the leaders. Lane was up there. He ran well,” Jennings said. “We need to keep moving up the pack. They’re attacking the races, which is good to see. We are going to be competitive in conference and regionals. Our region is tough, but as long as we are top-four at regionals, we can be top-10 at state.”

Jennings added, “The JV boys ran tough. Evan (Torres) and Nick (Williams) went out with the leaders. Wyatt (Schmidle) had to work to catch up, but you could see he really wanted it.” Schmidle finished second, Williams third, Torres fifth, Sean Griffith eighth, and Daniel Hatton in ninth. Medals were awarded to top-10 finishers. “This is our future,” Jennings commented. Schmidle, Torres and Hatton are freshmen.

Freshman Audri Gutierrez won a medal for her eighth-place finish in the girls junior-varsity race.

Turner Middle School (TMS) boys team finished in fifth place in the middle-school division, just two points from beating Preston Middle for fourth place. There were 269 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade boys running around Lake Loveland with TMS seventh-grader Scott Clark right up at the front. Clark won the seventh-grade division and placed fifth overall. Eighth-graders Tate Bothun (15th), Afton Cooper (25th), and Hayden Herndon (29th) were all in the top 30. Seventh-grader Issac Erickson was the final scorer for TMS, finishing in 57th place. Seventh-graders Gwynn Marks (37th) and Sydney Slauson (41st) led the TMS girls to a ninth-place finish in the 19-team competition.

“The middle-schoolers like to see the high-schoolers at the races,” stated Turner coach, Amy Pasch. “We have a good team and keep improving.”

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