Perkins, Holland lead Tigers in Leadville |

Perkins, Holland lead Tigers in Leadville

Summit High's Ben Holland makes a push to the finish line as Summit's top male finisher in the cross country meet at CMC in Leadville Saturday.

LEADVILLE – In their first test against top-notch competition, Summit High School’s cross country runners executed coach Heather Quarantillo’s race strategy to perfection and posted a number of top finishes at Saturday’s hotly contested Lake County Invitational.Per Quarantillo’s orders, the Tigers waited until the second and final loop to make their moves on the challenging, hilly Leadville CMC 5K course. They passed as many as five foes on that final lap, and in a number of cases sprinted to the tape with a strong finish kick.Summit’s girls took fourth of six 4A/5A teams, many of which were powerful, big-school Front Range programs. The Tiger boys took sixth.As she has in each of Summit’s three races, freshman Briana Perkins led the team with a third-place finish in the girls race. She passed two runners in the final 300 yards to finish in 22:20, 34 seconds back of the winner.

After finishing second in both previous races, Perkins was slightly disappointed with her showing on Saturday.”I just couldn’t go,” said the precocious freshman, who missed out on getting second Saturday by just 10 feet after her late surge. “I think starting so late in the day drained me. I felt like I was missing a whole ‘nother gear.”Junior Martha Winston took 10th for the Tigers in 23:35, securing her top-10 spot with a furious sprint over the final 100 yards that helped her pass two runners. Winston, a hill-happy transfer from Vermont, was more interested in her team’s progress than her own season-best showing after the race.”We’ve been working extra hard,” she said. “We wanna go to state as a team, not just send one or two girls here and there. I think it’s paying off in our racing.”

Brittany Perkins, Briana’s older sister, took 13th in 24:11 to give Summit three of the top 15 girls. She was joined at the tape by fellow varsity runners Jordan Cooper (26:34); Jenya Berino (26:53); Kara Springer (28:32); and Amy Secor, who finished despite a painful knee injury.Junior Ben Holland led the Tiger boys for the third straight race, running to 18th place among the talented field. Coming off a career-best 5K time on Wednesday, Holland finished the climb-heavy course in 20:31.”I got a couple cramps on the second lap,” he said. “That’s the best I could do.”Holland passed “five or six” runners on the two grinding uphills to beat his closest teammate, Tyler Reinking, by more than a minute. Reinking was impressive in his own right, though. The ever-improving freshman finished in 21:34, and later received high praise from the speedy Holland.

“By his senior year, I bet he’ll be at state,” Holland said of his protegé.Senior captain Chris Marvin outkicked classmate Marc Miller to win their personal competition for the first time this season by one second, and Kevin Davis wrapped up the Tiger boys scorers. Marshall Snead (24:23) and David Shaffer (26:03) were the final two SHS finishers.Despite the team placings, SHS coach Quarantillo was plenty pleased with her runners’ performances. “This is the toughest competition we’ve seen,” said the third-year coach. “Our goal is to improve with each race as the season goes on, and we’re definitely on track there.”Finish line: The SHS JV girls team won its portion of Saturday’s meet, which drew teams from 32 schools across the state. Carly Walsh led the charge with a fourth-place showing … The Tigers travel to Snow Mountain Ranch for the Panther Invite on Saturday.

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