Titans cross-country faces up to challenge of Front Range course
Written by Than Acuff
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Amber Scott is top-ranked
2A runner in the state
Battling a 20-degree drop in temperature and a field of 35 teams, mostly from 4A and 5A schools, the Crested Butte Titans cross-country team toed the line on Saturday, October 6 in Colorado Springs.
It was the first time a Titans team made the trip to this race and the reason was twofold.
“Mixing up the competition is really good for the kids,” says coach Connie Hayden, “and I wanted them to go down in elevation and work on hills and speed. It was the perfect course.”
“It was a much faster course than we expected,” added coach Shari Sullivan-Marshall.
Ultimately, several Titans posted some of their fastest mile splits all year in Colorado Springs, including a couple of runners who ran their fastest miles of their career, oftentimes on the final mile of the race.
As is often the case, senior Amber Scott and junior Forrest Smith posted the top Titan results. Both runners flirted with the lead in their races for most of the five-kilometer course before dropping a few spots in the final stretch.
Scott jumped out into the lead for the first half mile and then spent a majority of the rest of the race at the lead of the chase pack before finishing in eighth place overall with a time of 19:11.
“It was a really good experience for her to be up there,” says Hayden. “We had a really tough week of workouts so she raced rather conservatively and her splits were even throughout, which was awesome. It was good to see that we need to work on her last half mile.”
Smith got a taste of the front of the pack as well before finishing in seventh place with a time of 16:46, just seven seconds off his personal record time.
“He looked comfortable up there which is great,” says Hayden. “It’s just so neat to see them up front.”
The rest of the girls ran in the JV race, which is the same distance and the same course but without all of the heavy hitters. Often, runners can get lost in the varsity pack and get discouraged, but the girls excelled in their races with Tara Mortell having the race of the day. Mortell posted negative splits all three miles, meaning her mile times got faster as the race wore on, and she cut more than a minute off her previous personal record.
On the boys’ side, Jack Duryea posted his fastest mile time of his career in the third mile and Sullivan-Marshall was ecstatic with Kyle Boyle’s performance.
“He builds and builds over a season and that was the best I’ve seen him look in a race,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “Both he and Danny [D’Aquila] are a big part of how well the boys will do at state.”
The boys’ team ended up finishing in ninth place out of 35 teams at the race.
Hayden and Sullivan-Marshall will now have the team focus on hills and their efforts in the third mile as they prepare for the post-season. The team closes the regular season this Saturday with the “AJ of cross-country meets,” the Montrose Relays. The Titans will then head to Delta for regionals on Wednesday, October 17.