Summit High freshman Ella Hagen wins at first high school race
Dom Remeikis, Josh Shriver finish as top Tiger boys in 8th and 9th places
At her first high school race, Summit High School freshman Ella Hagen won the Battle Mountain Invitational in Minturn Saturday, Aug. 28.
At the daunting 5,000-meter Maloit Park course, Hagen raced to a championship time of 19 minutes and 55 seconds, which was nearly 50 seconds faster than runner-up Willow Lott of Durango (20:46).
Hagen’s win in the 77-runner girls race propelled the Summit girls to a fifth-place finish, as the Tigers’ other top girls runners were sophomore Adaline Avery (23rd, 23:29), freshman Cecelia Miner (33rd, 24:04) and sophomore Sophia Bertonneau (34th, 24:11).
Tigers first-year head coach Mike Hagen, Ella’s father, said the youngster made her move about a mile into the race to break out from the pack. Ella herself said it was her ability to crush a major uphill stretch at the start of the second lap, at about the 1.5-mile mark, where she ran away with the lead.
“I didn’t really expect it,” coach Hagen said of Ella’s victory. “I didn’t rule it out but didn’t expect it. I think just her hard training is the reason. She’s been serious and has good mental strength, and she raced intelligently. She didn’t start too fast, and she pushed hard in the second and third mile. She’s a good hill runner. Uphills she’s very strong at, and this course was good for her.”
Ella credited her teammates’ support before the race for putting her in a great mentality ahead of the run.
Despite the massive margin of victory, Ella said she didn’t coast into the finish line.
“You always want to surge at the end, and this was no different,” she said. “I didn’t really know where anybody was, so I tried to add a little bit at the end.”
Coach Hagen said Saturday’s season-opening meet was a great showcase of the young talent on both the boys and girls teams.
“The first race is always hard,” he said. “All in all, it was a pretty good start for them on a hard course. It’s probably the hardest we’ll do all year, so it’s good to learn from a hard course and be looking for faster times and improvement.”
On the boys side, Tigers junior Dom Remeikis raced to 17:57, good enough for eighth place in the 81-runner boys race. Another Tiger freshman, Josh Shriver, surged to a ninth-place finish just behind Remeikis at 17:59.
“For a freshman he’s very intelligent,” coach Hagen said of Shriver. “He knows how to run well, and his race was strong after he started much farther back and then was moving up. It was a pretty fantastic first high school race. It’s cool when you’re at the results board and these kids go, ‘Oh, I got beat by a freshman.’ There was a lot of that.”
Other top runners for the Summit boys included junior Zach McBride (27th, 19:00), junior Landon Cunningham (34th, 19:24) and sophomore Austin Bell (53rd, 21:49).
The Tigers are next scheduled to race Friday, Sept. 3, at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
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