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Falcon runners sweep to first-place PVL finishes

By: Mike Ray
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LAKE OF THE PINES– The stretch run of the high school cross-country season is drawing near and as far as Pioneer Valley League teams are concerned, the battle for league supremacy is on.

Wednesday, in the second PVL center meet of the season, the Colfax boys and girls teams put their best foot forward and checked in with respective victories that have tightened the league race with one more encounter remaining.

In the boys’ ranks, Colfax’s Billy Groth and Connor Vrooman went 2-3 to help push the Falcons past Center 50-55 for first-place honors. In the first PVL meet of the season, Center handily (35-55) defeated the Falcons.

Meanwhile, in the girls varsity division, Colfax and Bear River both placed three runners apiece in the top 10 of Wednesday’s race, but the Falcons had just enough depth over their final two runners to take a nip-and-tuck, 41-42 win over the Bruins.

In the first PVL meet of the season, Bear River slipped past Colfax (37-41) for top placing.

“It was close,” said Bear River coach Skylar Mousey. “It was a good day of racing all-around though; great weather and great competition.”

The third and deciding PVL meet is slated for Oct. 24, at Collins Lake located near Browns Valley.

For Colfax’s boys, the Falcons received strong efforts behind Groth (18 minutes, 19 seconds) and Vrooman (18:38), freshman Toby Howard (ninth, 20:08), Griffin LaBudde (14th, 20:14) and Dagan Alcala (19th, 20:39).

The Falcon boys also received a boost from Chance Netemeyer, a runner with CIF state meet experience who finished in 23rd place with a time of 20:55.

Bear River finished in third place with 66 points as Sean Cullers (seventh, 19:42) and Sean Huska (10th, 19:54) led the way. Also faring well were Matt Phipps (15th, 20:16) and Brekyn Vasquez (16th, 20:20).

For Colfax’s girls, Sierra Hagen was the top individual for the second league race of the season. She was followed in by Lady Falcons Emma Sanders, who was fifth and Rose Forbes, who placed 10th.

Colfax, however, pulled out the meet when the Lady Falcons took the 12-13-14 spots behind Molly Bradshaw, Mackenzie Kettwig and Jana Martello.

Bear River received strong runs from Grace Billingsley and Grace McDaniel, who went 2-3, and also from Chelsea Herron, who placed seventh. Elaina Wargala was 11th and Sara Borchert 20th.