Summit runners place high at Eagle Valley Cross-Country Invitational in Gypsum 

Summit girls team places 1st while boys team takes 2nd

Dillon Benbow/Courtesy photo
Ella Hagen, front, and Lindsey Kiehl lead the Eagle Valley Cross-Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 16 in Gypsum. Hagen placed first overall with Kiehl following in second.
Dillon Benbow/Courtesy photo

After posting some of the top marks in the state at the Liberty Bell Cross-Country Invitational in Littleton the week prior, the Summit High School cross-country team stuck around the Western Slope and competed at the Eagle Valley Cross-Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 16, in Gypsum. 

Following a three-year absence from hosting a cross-country meet, Eagle Valley moved their home competition from the Gypsum Creek Golf Course to the new Siena Valley Club located on the outskirts of the town of Gypsum.

With the meet being held at a different venue from years prior, the Tigers did not know what to exactly expect from the course, but, as always, they toed the line well prepared to compete and show off their fitness levels. 

The Summit boys and girls cross-country teams rolled through the undulating, 5-kilometer, grassy course to earn first- and second-place team finishes, even despite the course being soggy in spots due to a fresh watering and recent rainstorms. 

In the boys race, Summit and Eagle Valley squared off in a dogfight to the finish line. 

With Eagle Valley currently considered as one of the top teams in the 4A classification, the Tigers put targets on the back of every black-and-red singlet. They made a team effort to pass as many Eagle Valley runners as possible. 

Leading the way for the Tigers were freshman Jay McDonald and junior Josh Shriver, who got out with Eagle Valley’s top runners, Dylan Blair and Cooper Filmore. After following Blair and Filmore through the 1-mile mark, McDonald and Shriver worked together to try and overtake the pair. 

As the quartet of runners hopped on a lengthy section of golf cart path, McDonald started quickening his stride and eventually took over the lead in the final stages of the race. McDonald sprinted down the final grassy stretch of the course and crossed the finish line in first place overall with an inaugural course record time of 16 minutes, 32.20 seconds.

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Blair followed McDonald in second (16:41.70), and Filmore placed third (16:45.70). Shriver quickly followed the pair of Eagle Valley runners, placing fourth (16:50.60) while junior Will Bentley (16:54.40) ran strong over the second half of the course to place fifth.

“Personally, my thing was to stick on our top two boys as long as possible and try to finish,” Bentley said. “I knew they were going to go out slow and play it more tactical, which allowed me to do my best to hold on through 2 miles. I feel pretty happy about it. We went 1, 4, 5, which I think is pretty solid.”

Dillon Benbow/Courtesy photo
Summit High School freshman Jay McDonald runs his way to a first-place finish at the Eagle Valley Cross-Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 16 in Gypsum. McDonald set a a course record with a time of 16:32.20.
Dillon Benbow/Courtesy photo

With three Summit runners across the line before Eagle Valley’s third, head coach Mike Hagen knew the race for the team title would come down to how both teams’ fourth and fifth runners fared.

In the end, it was the deep Eagle Valley team that was able to push ahead and secure the team title. Eagle Valley’s Tyler Blair placed sixth, Armando Fuentes finished in ninth and Jackson Filmore placed 10th. Jack Packert sealed the Devils’ win by placing 12th.

Sophomores Carter Niemkiewicz and Cain Steinweg were the next Summit runners to cross the finish line after Bentley. Niemkiewicz placed 15th (18:10.20) and Steinweg placed 16th (18:21.50). 

Freshman Lukas Remeikis and sophomore Gavin Benedict rounded out the top seven runners for Summit, placing 26th and 28th, respectively.

With a total of 41 points, the Summit boys cross-country team placed second overall, only behind Eagle Valley’s 30 points. Although the team failed to beat its Western Slope rivals, the Tigers were still happy with their performance and how they worked together as a team throughout the 5-kilometer race.

“Us as a team really went into the race not really focusing on individual placement — but just being as competitive in the team race as possible,” Bentley said. “I think we did an amazing job executing. This is good momentum for us to build into the bigger races.”

Dillon Benbow/Courtesy photo
Will Bentley opens up his stride during the Eagle Valley Cross-Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 16.
Dillon Benbow/Courtesy photo

The Summit High girls cross-country team had little to no issue securing its team title. Junior Ella Hagen and senior Lindsey Kiehl worked together to set the pace up front before Ella Hagen confidently pulled away from the chase pack and closer to the finish line.

Hagen won her second race of the season and, in the process, set an inaugural course record, crossing the finish line in 18:24.70. Wanting to secure the top two spots in the race, Kiehl pushed over the final mile to place second (20:10.60).  

Following Hagen and Kiehl, the girls team continued to race strong as a pack and managed to put three more runners in the top 20. Junior Avery Eytel placed 10th (21:13.70), freshman Lily Benbow finished in 17th (21:45.70) and freshman Ashley Adkins placed 19th (21:50.30).

Rounding out the Tigers’ top seven runners, junior Cecelia Miner placed 23rd (22:24.80) and freshman Milla Phaf put on an impressive performance to place 34th (23:15.90). 

The Summit girls cross-country team placed first overall with a score of 46, and Fruita Monument High School followed in second with 73 points.

Several members of the Summit High School cross-country team will travel to Minnesota for the Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul. All Summit distance runners will be in the championship races, which are set to begin in the early afternoon hours on Friday, Sept. 22. 

Live results can be found at 

Upon arriving back from Minnesota, Summit will then prepare for its home meet, The Summit Stinger at Copper Mountain, on Saturday, Sept. 30.

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