RANGELY I The Rangely High School cross-country team kicked off its season on the rainy and muddy trails at the Central Warrior Invitational in Grand Junction on Saturday.
The new course, with a European flair, included hay bales to jump, logs to climb over and bridges to cross. It was nearly impassable with a downpour that soaked the landscape.
Running an hour behind schedule due to heavy rain and lightning, the race finally started in a downpour as 110 boys toed the line and were followed shortly afterward by 103 girls from 11 different Western Slope schools.
An unfriendly course for spectators, the runners were not visible after the start of the race until they rounded the bend toward the finish line, where they had to run through two pool-sized mud puddles and then jump three hay bales before sprinting (sliding) to the finish line.
In the boys’ race, Patrick Scoggins led the way for the Panthers, finishing in 34th place with a time of 18:45 while Mitchell Webber slid in a few steps back in 36th place with a time of 18:59.
Daniel Connor, Zach Glasgow and Brennan Noyes stayed close together as well and trudged through the mud in 50th, 51st, and 52nd places, respectively. Connor had a time of 20:45, Glasgow had a time of 20:53, and Noyes had a time of 20:54. James Scoggins was not far behind in 56th place with a time of 21:27.
Savannah Nielsen led the way for the Lady Panthers with a time of 26:43, finishing in 36th place, and she was followed by teammate Rebecca Gillard, who finished the muddy course with a time of 29:51, earning her 45th place.
The Rangely Cross-Country team will be running in Delta on this Friday. The team is hoping for clear skies and a dry course this time.