On Saturday, Colville Highâ€™s cross-country team took their show on the road to the venerable Farragut - Super One Foods Invitational. The challenging 5k course, located along the banks of Idlewilde Bay on Lake Pend Oreille, provided the local harriers with their first chance of the season to test themselves in race conditions.
Over the past decade, the Indians annual sojourn to Farragut Park has provided a reliable opportunity to collect some early season bobbles to stock the already crowed CHS display cases. However, while hoping to add a bit more â€śblingâ€ť to their collection, the Indians were far more concerned with just being competitive among the 29-team field, and surviving infamous Goat Hill.
Colville placed in big school division at Farragut
For the CHS boys varsity, it was a bit of dĂ©jĂ vu when they were inadvertently placed into the Large School A Division for the second consecutive year. However, the snafu did not slow down the high octane Indians, ranked as high as third among boyâ€™s Class 1A teams in a recent pre-season poll.
Taking on the likes of Lake City, Coeur dâ€™Alene, East Valley and Cheney, the Indians served notice that they are ready to compete against all comers, big and small.
Leading the way for Colville was Biagio Pietroburgo. After exploding to the front of the race over the first mile, Pietroburgo eventually surrender his front-runner status in exchange for guiding the Indians to the finish line in a tight pack. In less than a 20 second span, the Indians clocked the finish line four times.
According to Coach Dean Fischer, â€śWe felt coming in today that our strength this season would be our ability to run together. But I was surprised at just how tight we were able to stay, especially here at Farragut, where the crowded course and terrain make it easy to get separated.â€ť
For Pietroburgo, it was a personal course best 17:49 that sent him to the Farragut awards podium in seventh place.
Pietroburgo, Carpenter lead CHS boys
Following Pietroburgo across the finish line was a runaway train of Indians being pulled by sophomore Kevin Carpenter. Using Farragut as a chance to shed a case of the doldrums, Carpenter finished with a sizzling course best 18:02, good for eighth place, and just ahead of teammate Roman Korovnik.
Korovnik, posting one of the Indiansâ€™ fastest Farragut rookie times in recent memory, ran step for step with Carpenter and posted a quick 18:09. Korovnikâ€™s 10th place finish rounded out the Indians individual awards parade.
â€śRoman has been the surprise of the season so far,â€ť Fischer said. â€śHe couldnâ€™t run with us last year because of a broken foot. We knew back then that he was a quick and tough kid, but he has exceeded our expectations.â€ť
Next in for the Indians was sophomore Dylan Schanz. Schanz, knocking 43 seconds off his 2010 course mark, rolled through the finish in 18:15. His effort earned him twelfth place, just two markers behind teammate Korovnik.
Fischer was pleased with his teamâ€™s outing on a rigorous course.
â€śIt was a really great day,â€ť Fischer said. â€śWe went in a bit hobbled. Chris (Lane) turned up with flu-like symptoms earlier in the week. If Chris is running healthy, he is capable of filling our three, four, or five spot on any given day. However, today he just didnâ€™t have it in his tank. He was obviously not feeling well. Most days Chris will run stride for stride with his teammates.â€ť
Lane finished his race in 46th place, with an official time of 20:09, just ahead of the Indiansâ€™ Aric Beers (20:15) and Noah Baum (20:28).
At the end of the day, the Indians found themselves in second place in the Large School Varsity A - Division. The only team to slip by them was Coeur dâ€™Alene, who came into the meet favored to repeat as Idahoâ€™s 5A State Champion.
Winning the boys individual varsity race, in 16:57, was Coeur dâ€™Aleneâ€™s Cody Curtis.
Adjusted results by placing Colville back into the small school division left Lakeside with 57 points and first place, while Colville earned 83 and second. Bonners Ferry rounded out the top three with 110 points.
Reviewing the scores, Coach Fischer was quick to point out, â€śIf Chris (Lane) is in his zone, youâ€™ve got a dogfight for first. It is going to be one heck of a season.â€ť
Price leads way
For the Colville womenâ€™s squad, it was a day of firsts, with three of Colvilleâ€™s Fab Five making their CHS debut. First-timers included Nyshel Pease, Hannah Johnson and Savannah Smith.
Fischer was more than pleased with the outing turned in by his youngsters.
â€śI am thrilled with what the girls did today,â€ť Fischer said. â€śWe really didnâ€™t have expectations of winning this thing, but instead, we wanted the girls to get comfortable in race conditions. They are on a learning curve and they responded to the competition extremely well today.â€ť
Leading the girlâ€™s effort was Alison Price. Price, running the entire race among the leaders, posted a personal course best of 21:28, earning her a trip to the podium in eighth place.
â€śAlison ran an outstanding race today,â€ť Fischer said. â€śShe ran under control and she ran a very smart race. Alison is going to be a huge factor in the NEA this season.â€ť
Following Priceâ€™s lead, sophomore transfer Nyshel Pease and junior Jill Fenno pushed each other over the hilly and scenic Farragut course. Both girls posted personal course bests. With a strong sprint over the final 200 meters, Pease finished in 28th place, posting a 24:12, just ahead of Fennoâ€™s 24:17.
Running in her first cross-country race, Hannah Johnson surprised the field by posting a 25:58 to capture 46th, while Savannah Smith ran a consistent pace, finishing in 31:20 in 67th place.
Girlâ€™s Team results: Timberlake 1st; Riverside 2nd; and Lakeside 3rd. All three front-runners are teams expected to compete for the State 1A title in November. Colville finished their day in sixth place.
For Fischerâ€™s money and that of a lot of other coaches and competitors, it doesnâ€™t get a whole lot better than Farragut.
â€śFarragut is always among our favorite races,â€ť Fischer said. â€śIt is usually well organized, the environment is competitive, the landscape beautiful and the course is among the toughest in the Northwest. Farragut occasionally resembles a migration of salmon trying to forge their way up a torrent of dust, brush, and flying legs. But the challenge of the course is its own reward.â€ť
Colvilleâ€™s Junior Varsity finished their day in fourth place. The junior varsity was led by Ethan Cabbageâ€™s 10th place in 20:01 and Jay Shoemakerâ€™s 12th place finish in 20:10.
Other finishers for the day:
Elijah Michaelson 20:48
Emmet Morehouse 20:50
Brandon Lytle 21:47
Chris Benson 23:09
Reese Johnson 23:10
Kevin Edler 24:27
On Saturday, Colville will travel to Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane Valley where they will test themselves at the Eric Anderson / Runnerâ€™s Soul Classic. On Tuesday, the Indians will kick-off NEA competition when they host Freeman and Newport in a 4 p.m. match-up at Dominion Meadows Golf Course in Colville.