Cougars continue to dominate

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By Dan Johnson

LITTLETON — Nothing, it seems, can slow down the Evergreen girls cross-country team.

Battling through illness, the Cougars picked up a pair of wins last week, including one at the Dave Sanders Invitational at Clement Park on Oct. 2. The Cougars dominated the field — even with top runner Tayler Warren out of the lineup — placing four runners in the top-11.

Junior Bryn Haebe won the Division 2 race, finishing in a time of 19 minutes, 13 seconds. Sophomore Maura O'Brien wasn't far behind, finishing second in 19:25. Sam Skold took fourth in 19:40 and Ashley Skold rounded out the scoring. Her time of 20:11 was good for 11th overall.

On Sept. 29, the Cougars took part in the Horizon/Prarie View Invitational at Lakewood's Addenbrooke Park. Skold and Haebe finished in a virtual dead-heat, as both crossed the line in 20:55 to win the race. O'Brien finished ninth in 21:54 and Mikhaila Redovian turned in a solid time of 23:14.

Coach Rob Wright is expecting both Warren and Grace Beaudin to return to the team this week, providing the Cougars with even more depth as they make their push towards a Class 4A state championship.

"The girls that have run for us the last couple of weeks have had their work cut out for them with so many varsity runners under the weather," Wright said. "But, they survived the worst of it and we hope to be back at full strength this week."

The boys' team also had a good week, taking first at the Horizon/Prarie View meet, despite not having one its top runners in Grant Hargrove. Jack Hamilton, who missed the Dave Sanders meet, finished ninth with a time of 18:34.

Justin Barr was 16th in 18:49, Jackson Sayler was 20th with a time of 18:52 and Brian Kassay was 22nd with a time of 18:56. Tyler Bender cracked the top-40, finishing 35th overall with a time of 19:11.

Sayler was the team's top finisher at the Dave Sanders Invitational, placing 16th overall in the Division 2 race with a time of 17:35. Josh Petzel was 23rd in 17:50, while Brian Kassay and Justin Barr finished 26th and 27th, respectively. Kassay's time was 17:56, a second quicker than Barr. The Cougars finished fourth in the team standings, despite not having their top two runners.

"The boys are finally coming together as a tight team," Wright said. "They are sensing the urgency of a season that will soon be over and they will not give up, either. We have lots of tough runners this season with some high expectations for themselves. As coaches, we're excited to watch them achieve those goals."