Titan XC harriers make the most of fast course in GJ
Written by Than Acuff
Wednesday, 03 October 2012
Personal records shattered across the board
Speed was the name of the game at the Anna Banana Invitational cross-country race in Grand Junction on Saturday, September 29.
Titans coach Connie Hayden was well aware of the situation and looked forward to the flat, fast course for her runners.
Leading up to the race, Hayden was expecting a flurry of personal record times from her athletes and they did not disappoint.
“Everyone was totally on fire,” says Hayden. “Nobody had a bad race.”
The boys’ team opened the day led by junior captain Forrest Smith. Smith missed out on the last race nursing a knee injury but was fired up to return to action.
The runners are stuffed into a tight start and Smith fell victim to the flesh mass a couple meters into the race when someone stepped on his heel, leaving him with the time-honored “flat tire.”
“The start line is a complete and total cluster,” says Hayden. “It’s just awful.”
After fixing the situation, Smith rejoined the race in dead last and spent the next five kilometers passing 140 runners to finish the race in seventh place overall with a new personal record time of 16:39.
“Forrest was super-calm about it and by the time he came through the one-mile mark, he was right where he needed to be.”
Juniors Danny D’Aquila and sophomore Jack Duryea also set personal record times, with junior Kyle Boyle off his PR pace by 11 seconds.
The big race, though, came from freshman Aiden Truettner. With the top five runners from each team scoring points, Hayden and assistant Shari Sullivan-Marshall called on Truettner to run his first varsity race in Grand Junction.
After discussing strategies with him prior to the big show, Truettner set his mind to one plan: staying with Jack Duryea.
Sure, Duryea has hundreds of miles of training and has consistently posted times a good two minutes faster than Truettner on five-kilometer courses, but Truettner’s mind was made up.
In the end, Aiden’s plan worked as he ran three minutes, 38 seconds faster than his previous PR and came in two spots behind Duryea to help push the team to an eighth-place finish out of 23 teams.
“That was a lot to ask of a freshman and he really, really rose to the occasion,” says Hayden. “It was a stunning performance.”
The rest of the Titans runners all fed off of the boys’ varsity performance the rest of the day, as every one set a PR.
“The varsity boys set the stage for the rest of the day,” says Hayden.
Senior Amber Scott ran what Hayden described as the “best race of her life.”
Scott put all of her training to full use in Grand Junction, running a personal best time of 18:43, two seconds off the school record time set by Erin Kelly, to place fourth among runners from 2A through 5A schools.
“She threw all of her worries out the door and broke through any mental barriers she may have had,” says Hayden. “She just hammered it.”
The rest of the Titan girls ran in the JV race on the same course and followed in the footsteps of their teammates with continued PR races.
“They also put their hearts on the line and went for it,” says Hayden.
The team will get another glimpse of the state championship venue this Friday, October 5 when they head to Colorado Springs for a massive meet. It will be the biggest race of the season for the Titans’ team, with 35 teams signed up to compete.
“We’re headed there to do a nice hilly workout with a lot of Front Range competition,” says Hayden. “It’s another taste of the big leagues, but the kids are ready for it.”