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A Glenwood team effort

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post IndependentRyan Buchanan and his Glenwood Springs High School teammates will run in Saturday's state cross country meet at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins. For the first time in school history, both the Demon boys and girls teams qualified for state.
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FORT COLLINS, Colorado – Emilio Alcala’s bags were packed. He was ready to run.

Then came the news.

Eighteen inches of snow covered the state cross country course at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins. That, coupled with weather-related travel concerns, drove the Colorado High School Activities Association to postpone the Oct. 31 state meet.



“I was ready to go,” said Alcala, a senior at Glenwood Springs High School. “I packed my bags the night before and then, in the morning [on Thursday], they said we weren’t going. I was bummed about that.”

Well, Mother Nature appears to be cooperating with CHSAA in its second stab at staging the state meet. Should Alcala pack his bags early again this week, it’s safe to say they’ll remain packed.



Alcala will be one of several Demons in Fort Collins on Saturday, as both the boys and girls teams rode fourth-place regional finishes to Class 4A team berths. It was the first time in school history both teams qualified for state at the same time.

“It’s cool to make school history,” sophomore Michelle Thrun said. “We didn’t think both teams would make it, but then we did. It’s a pretty big accomplishment, I think.”

Even though they participate in a sport that’s widely perceived as individual in nature, the Demons are all about team.

While they were indeed chomping at the bit to race last weekend, no one seemed to mind an extra week of preparation all that much. After all, it meant another week spent with teammates.

“It’s an extra week of being together,” said senior Sarah Treese, Glenwood’s top female regional finisher. “It’s fun.”

Demon coaches Mike Schneiter and Kim Worline do their best to push a team approach to cross country. It starts every season with a team slumber party at Sunlight Mountain Resort during the first week of the practice.

“It’s a tradition coach [Joe] Mollica started years ago,” Schneiter said. “Sunlight lets us stay up in the lodge for free. We move all the tables away and have a big slumber party up there. We do a big run through the woods and play a bunch of games and eat dinner. Just a bunch of team building stuff.

“It really sets the tone for the year. I think the kids get to know each other.”

And it shows out on the course. Desperately wanting a team trip to state, a fully spent Ian Edquist stumbled across the line in 15th place at the Oct. 24 regional meet in Aspen. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed.

“We had a lot of guys really try hard at the regional meet this year,” Alcala said. “Ian Edquist literally puked for it. Andrew [Mansfield] and Ryan [Buchanan] ran real hard. We all tried really hard.”

Mansfield was the first Demon across the line at regionals, taking third place. Buchanan claimed 14th, Edquist 15th, Garrett Brown 33rd, Emilio Alcala 41st, Vincent Tsosie 45th and Jared Peltzman 56th.

Treese ran to 13th for the girls, and was followed by Lily Thorsen in 25th, Thrun in 29th, Marissa Molina in 30th, Cari Barber in 34th, McKenzie Hill in 36th and Angie Shepard in 37th.

“At the end of the girls race, we didn’t know if the girls qualified,” Schneiter said. “We knew it was going to be close and Marissa said, ‘Girls, I just want to thank you for making this last meet great. It’s been great to run with you all year. If this is my last meet, it was great being with you.’

“That was a great tone for the girls team. Both teams really had that feeling.”

That team spirit has carried the Demons pretty far this fall. No matter where Glenwood runners place on Saturday, Schneiter knows his runners will have given it their all. And that they’ll have had fun along the way.

“They’re just having fun running,” the fourth-year coach said. “They keep talking about how they love running together, so all the girls run together and all the boys run together. It’s really fun to be a part of.”

jcaspersen@postindependent.com


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