Cardinal distance runners take on Bolder Boulder |

Cardinal distance runners take on Bolder Boulder

Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colorado ” The end of the prep track and field season didn’t mark the end of the running season for five Grand Valley High School runners.

Instead, the handful of distance runners continued their training and then put it to use in Monday’s Bolder Boulder 10K road race. For a group that had never competitively run a 10K before, the Cardinals ran extremely well, all placing in the top 100 of their age divisions ” which all consisted of over 300 runners.

Standout freshman Brandi Kreig, who took the Class 2A distance scene by storm this year by setting school records for her 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs and who placed fourth and fifth respectively in those events at the state championship meet, paced the squad with the best finish. Her time of 47 minutes, 10.05 seconds, was quick enough for eighth in the female, age-15, 380-field division. It was also good enough for 2,937th place overall in the 50,000-plus runner competition.

Her sister Sami Jo, placed 18th of the 397 runners in the female 16-year-old division with a time of 49:13.11. Tlc Whiteley was the third and final Cardinal girl in the race and she clocked a 1:02:09.20 to take 91st in the 312-runner female 17-year-old category.

Austin Germiller and Sam Whelan represented the Grand Valley boys, posting times of 44:46.78 and 47:14.72 respectfully. Germiller finished 72nd in the male 17-year-old division (of 313 runners), while Whelan placed 83rd of 362 runners in the male 16-year-old category.

After helping the Cardinals train for a successful high school season, GVHS distance coach Kim Whelan (Sam’s mother) came up with the idea for the runners to try the Bolder Boulder.

“I just wanted to encourage the kids to stay in shape during the summer and to do some longer events,” Whelan said. “It is a fun thing to do and I wanted them to see how much fun it is. If 50,000 people are doing it, it has to be fun. I wanted it to be kind of a payoff for all their hard work during the track and field season.”

None of the Grand Valley runners had competitively run a 10K before, so without a previous time to go off of, all five runners were placed in slower starting waves. Being paired up with slower runners, ended up benefiting the entire group.

“I know they had a good time running and passing people the whole time,” Whelan said.

Keeping the distance team in shape is a huge goal for Whelan, not only so they can continue to build on their standout season, but also because they are going to run cross country in the fall and Whelan is Grand Valley’s new cross country coach. She coached at Eagle Valley High School for three years and at the middle school level for a few more years before recently moving to Parachute.

Grand Valley head track and field coach Sean Rice brought on Whelan to head up the distance runners and it worked out so well, Whelan will now be in charge of the Cardinals’ cross country program.

Whelan has been running her whole life, starting in middle school, through high school and even as a runner for Harding University in Arkansas in her college days.

She’s added marathons and a bunch of other races to her resume since. Now, she’s looking to help add more to her athletes’ resumes.

“We are hoping to do some more 5K and 10Ks this summer,” she said.

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