Area schools gear up for cross-country season
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – With four returning state qualifiers on the girls side and another on the boys team, Glenwood Springs’ cross-country program is in top shape.Track and field and cross-country are a big deal at Glenwood, and it shows.Seniors Katrina Selsor, Melissa Buchanan and Michelle Stripp and junior Angie Shepard make up the female foursome that ran last year’s state meet in Colorado Springs. Sophomore Ryan Buchanan is the male.Figure in a summer spent training for the boys team’s Kellen Fockler and the girls’ addition of Abbey Barnes, a two-time state qualifier who didn’t run cross-country last season, and the Demons might again have a bevy of runners at state this year.The greatest concentration of talent, though, sits with the girls squad.”I think the girls will be really strong again,” Glenwood coach Mike Schneiter said. “The girls we’re bringing back, I think, were our top runners. They were always in the top four or five last year.”Beyond the top runners, Schneiter’s seen an influx of kids come out for the team.”We keep having more and more runners,” he said. “A lot of young boys and young girls. A lot of kids that have some good potential.”Unfortunately for those Demons, they won’t get the chance to host the 4A Region 5 meet as previously planned.Instead, the 4A meet is shifting to Delta, which is also the site of the 3A Region 1 meet.Although he’s not sure how, exactly, the decision went down, Schneiter wasn’t miffed by the site shift.”We were having a hard time finding a place in Glenwood,” he said.Home or not, the Demons appear in line for heavy representation at state this year.”The kids have fun at that course every year,” Schneiter said. “They know it really well.”
RIFLE, Colorado – Jerry Shafer has upwards of 20 runners out for his Rifle cross-country team this fall, the best numbers in his brief tenure at the school.The uptick can partly be attributed to a number of wrestlers signing up for the team. That, and some young newcomers with loads of promise.Back to anchor the boys team are junior Dustin Ross and sophomore Larry Schmueser. From the girls team, senior Holly Keeper returns to lead the way for the Bears.Freshman newcomer Andrew Proebstel is expected to contribute right away for the boys team.”He could be a pretty good track runner by the time all is said and done,” Shafer praised. “He has some potential. He’s never done cross, but he’s catching on pretty quick.”Other program newcomers include female runners Loren Forney and Tania and Tori Jorgensen.Shafer likes what’s in store for his program.”We should be able to score,” he said. “Individually, the girls will be alright. The guys might be more surprising than I thought they’d be.”
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Fielding a tiny team in 2007, Coal Ridge got big results.The Titans qualified two boys in brothers DaLin and DaNivin Murphy and one girl in Chelyn McCain. DaLin’s in his senior year while DaNivin and McCain are both juniors.”Everybody returning has done really well,” head coach Tiffany Robison said. “Hopefully we can do more as a team this year.”Robison has a few more runners to work with – some 10 runners between the boys and girls squads – this year, up slightly from last year.Runners she expects big things from – beyond the state-qualifying triumvirate – include juniors John Tinker and Erica Anderson.
PARACHUTE, Colorado – With a roster that’s doubled in size from last year, the Grand Valley cross-country program is in good health.And the Cardinals have a legitimate shot at sending a few runners to state.New to the team this year is Brandi Krieg, who’s no stranger to running. As a freshman, she ran her way to the 2A state track and field meet in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.She’ll be juggling both volleyball and cross-country in the fall, but first-year cross-country coach Kim Whelan expects a strong showing from Krieg.”She’s been doing the workouts the best she can, just not with the team every day. I know she’ll do fine, but it’ll take a couple meets to see how she pans out at a longer distance,” said Whelan, a former cross-country runner at Harding University in Arkansas.Krieg isn’t the Cardinals’ only state hopeful.Austin Germiller, who narrowly missed out on making the 2A state meet last season, is back for his senior year. He made huge strides during the spring track season and should come up big again this fall.Junior Sam Whelan may also flirt with a state appearance.Nearly 10 runners are out for cross-country, a big jump over recent years. Coach Whelan does what she can to keep things lively and interesting for the Cardinal runners.”It takes consistency and creativity [to keep the numbers up],” she said. “Kids do everything in a small school. It’s definitely a specialized sport. By creativity, I mean in workouts. So it’s not just drudgery of doing the same, repetitive thing day after day. That can be pretty discouraging for most kids.”Whatever Whelan’s doing, she’s managing to build the program up numbers-wise.And with that might come a state appearance or two.
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.