Demons XC gearing up for stretch run starting with home meet at The Hill |

Demons XC gearing up for stretch run starting with home meet at The Hill

Elle Murphy works through part of the course at the Anna Banana Cross Country meet at Connected Lakes State Park in Grand Junction, Sept. 24. Murphy is a key runner for the Glenwood girls, who have made a substantial improvement this season under Head Coach Mike Schneiter.
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With all of the hype surrounding the Glenwood Springs cross country team — and rightfully so — the Demons will finally have a chance to show just how good they are with a home meet Saturday at the Glenwood Springs Golf Club at 9:45 a.m.

So far in 2016 the Glenwood boys and girls teams have been consistent performers each and every week, including last weekend’s performance at the Anna Banana Meet at Connected Lakes State Park in Grand Junction. There, the girls were led by Erica Diemoz and finished third as a team, while Henry Barth and the Demon boys finished seventh overall.

Last week’s meet was a big challenge for the young Demons, not only because the regional meet will be held at Connected Lakes State Park Oct. 20, but because the Demons were able to match up with some strong state competition allowing themselves to measure up against competition that they’ll see once again at regionals.

Last season, the Glenwood boys enjoyed a special run to the state meet led by Barth and Gavin Harden, but they simply can’t rest on the success of last year and hope that what they did in 2015 is good enough for 2016. That, head coach Mike Schneiter says, has been a challenge this season.

“It gets them motivated and gets them psyched, but I do fear at times that it allows them to be a little lax,” Schneiter said. “This year the talk has all been around state and how good we’re going to be at state, but we have to get there first.

“The boys are in a tough region with a lot of Front Range schools this year, so it’s going to be tough to get there, but it’s a double-edged sword; they know how exciting it is and how good the competition is, and that gets them all fired up.”

In a new region this year, the Demons have to deal with the likes of some big Front Range schools while also having to battle with Western Slope foe Battle Mountain and its powerful cross country program, as well as the Bulldogs from Palisade.

Being in a tough region will require a great run from each member of the boys team to get into the state meet. While the Demons still have some time to get to where they need to be, Schneiter feels that they’ll be right where they need to be when it comes time for regionals. That late-season push begins Saturday at the Glenwood meet.

“Henry can go out and run a great race, and that’s awesome,” Schneiter said. “But we need to get the boys from two, three and four through seven to go out and run awesome races as well. I know that they can and they need to start getting into their own heads to know what to do just right. Races are so tactical and there’s so many things going on that it’s so hard to get them into the right place.

“I don’t think any boy on this team is completely happy with what they’ve done so far this year, and that’s the good thing,” he said. “They’re all hungry and being competitive. I know they’ll get there, but it’s all about putting the pieces together.”

With the boy’s team of Barth, Harden, Bryce Risner, Mathew Thrun and Ian Richardson drawing a lot of the attention in the valley, the Glenwood girls have quietly been putting together a strong season behind Diemoz, Claudia Hirons, Sedona Kellogg, Elle Murphy and Emily Worline.

Last weekend at the Anna Banana meet, the Glenwood girls turned in one of their best team performances of 2016 as the top five Demon runners all finished within the top 40 runners in a year in which the girls have taken a massive step forward in comparison to last season, according to Schneiter.

“It’s kind of funny because everyone has been talking about our boys throughout the state and locally, but I keep telling everybody that the girls are much-improved,” Schneiter said. “It all starts with Erica and Sedona, who are both new to cross country, while Elle is a freshman. The girls could be the ones to go to state this year as a team.”

The girls will get a chance to show just how improved they are this season against the likes of Aspen, Basalt, Eagle Valley, Heritage and Rifle high schools on Saturday at “The Hill.”

Getting a chance to train all week at the course before taking off in the main race is something the Demons are excited about, especially running at home in front of a home crowd.

“It’s always a learning process for us,” Schneiter said. “It’s going to be fun for us because we get to run at our home course while also getting the opportunity to go up against some really good competition like Heritage, which just blows the socks off of everyone as a big 5A school.”

A strong showing on Saturday could be just the big boost to the stretch run for the Demons, who look to send both the boys and girls to state Oct. 29 in Colorado Springs.

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