Delta's cross country teams competed in two races this past week. One was the Devil's Thumb Hill Climb in Delta on Friday and the other competition was in Edwards at the Battle Mountain Invitational on Saturday. Delta's John Ames placed second in that race to highlight the weekend.
The Panthers did not have a full squad at either race this past week with some running in the Devil's Thumb Hill Climb and others in Edwards. There were a few who competed in both events.
In what many competitiors termed "a very tough race" 108 male runners from nine schools in the men's division and 73 female racers from seven schools competed.
Winning runners in each of the divisions established meet records for the event as last year's running of the Devil's Thumb Hill Climb were cancelled due to inclement weather.
In the men's division, Gunnison junior Colton Stice withstood adverse terrain to win in a time of 22:36.77.
Delta's first runner to cross the finish line was Thomas Neil (55th - 39 points). Andrew Toole (74th - 50 points), Doyle Young (85th - 54 points), Jack Jones (86th - 55 points) and Julian Varela (99th - 58 points) accounted for the Panthers' 256 points and ninth place finish on Friday.
Many competitors noted the most strenuous portions of the course were the rise to Devil's Thumb and the severe steep descent which required sitting down and sliding for a short distance to prevent falling.
The course took much longer to traverse than a flatter course with times reflecting as much. Most winning cross country times for the boys could range from 16 to 17 minutes depending on the course.
For the women's race, Grand Junction's Dolcie Hanlon, a freshman, outpaced the field with a time of 27:53.30. Rifle senior Sarah Wagler was a close second to Hanlon with her time of 27:53.87.
Delta's first runner to cross the finish line was freshman Grace Hall who finished in a time of 33:21.56. Sophomore Hana Hollenbeck was Delta's second runner across the line in 41st place, junior Abby Williams was 43rd, senior Shoshanna Vigil and freshman Emma Corbasson were 48th.
Delta's team total of 163 produced a seventh place finish.
Several runners for Delta's men's team did not run at Devil's Thumb but did compete at the Battle Mountain Invitational. Most notable was junior John Ames who was last season's top male runner for the Panthers.
Ames' 20:02 landed him in second place behind Elizabeth High School's David Fine who had a time of 19:14. Both athletes are juniors.
Ames' teammate, sophomore Shad Lewis recorded a 21:18 to finish 15th (12 points). Also scoring team points were junior Andrew Toole (44th - 35 points), freshman Doyle Young (45th - 36 points and sophomore Jack Jones was 46th and received 37 points. Together the five runners posted a score of 122 and sixth place.
Battle Mountain's Lizzy Harding was the women's cross country winner in Edwards. Her time of 22:49 was tied by teammate Alex Raichart who finished second.
Delta freshman Aubree Andre was the first Panther to cross the finish line in 21st (20 points) place with a time of 26:28. Friday's top placer at Devil's Thumb, Grace Hall, finished 25th to score 23 points. Next was junior Beki Atchley who finished 33rd and scored 27 points. Abby Williams was next in the 36th position for 29 points and Hana Hollenbeck was 42nd and awarded 35 points.
Delta's women scored 134 points to place sixth.
The Panther cross country teams are in Hotchkiss Sept. 9 for the Hotchkiss Invitational beginning at 9 a.m.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.