Local runners ready for state
Welcome to the show.
The best runners in Colorado gather Saturday at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds for the state meet. No one knows who will win, but two things are certain.
It will be fast and Eagle County will be represented.
The Devils, whose boys team qualified for the first time in school history, along with Battle Mountain’s David Suarez, run at 10:30 a.m. Battle Mountain’s ladies go at 12:30 p.m.
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This is the first time Eagle Valley’s had a team go to state – the cross-country program is in its fourth year. And the school sent them off in style Thursday.
Eagle Valley’s student body formed a human tunnel from the school’s door to the bus and the Devils went through it.
Run the Internet simulators and not much is expected from the first-time entrants. That said, the Devils are not in simply-happy-be-there mode.
“I think coming in as the last seed from our regional, people don’t expect much from us.” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “Our goal is to beat some teams and be competitive.”
Eagle Valley has tapered this week and is also working on starts. If you haven’t been to a state meet – and you should; it’s a sight to see – titles and team goals can be won and lost here.
There are generally about 200 runners going off in a mass start. A team needs to get out of this pack in good position and, individually, runners need to avoid getting tripped up or elbowed.
“Of course, you can’t get 200 people to help you,” Brandt joked about practice.
On a serious note, the Devils have been working downhills – it’s a downhill start at the state site.
“If we want to be successful, you have to have a good start,” Brandt said. “I don’t think we had a good start at regionals. Our guys all had great second halves to their racesat regionals, but that won’t work as well this week.”
Everyone to Olive Garden.
“It’s really great to go two years in a row,” Huskies runner Sydney Gaylord said. “It’s a great feeling for the team to know it can make it to state.”
As such, the Huskies travel down to the Front Range today, get a jog in and then hit Olive Garden, for what we presume are massive helpings of pasta and the salad bar.
Battle Mountain is not a newcomer at state. The Huskies ladies are seeded fifth. The goal is to move up a bit from that position.
There are many plot lines for the Huskies. We’ve already mentioned the ladies as a team. There’s also Mandy Ortiz. Where does she finish?
“Sometimes, there’s just one athlete who blows away the field,” Huskies coach Ken Long said. “Not this year. It’s always depends on whose day it is, but we think she can run with anyone in that race.”
There’s also David Suarez, who qualified as an individual. How does he do in running without a team, always a tough task at state?
“We had the same situation with Amelia (Ortiz) a few years ago,” Long said. “He’d prefer to be here with the team, but it’s not his first rodeo. It’s his third state meet.”
To that end, since the Huskies always open their season here, they know the course. Long says he expects times to be about 30 seconds slower than those posted at the regional meet last week in Delta.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.