Glenwood x-country `peaking at right time’ |

Glenwood x-country `peaking at right time’

Phil Sandoval

Cross country is considered an individual sport – except at Glenwood Springs High School.

The Demons look at Saturday’s Class 4A Western Regional meet, which begins at 10 a.m., as a team event.

And coach Joe Mollica said the boys team has a strong shot at earning the team championship once the final results have been tabulated at Palisade’s Riverbend Park.

“We’re peaking at the right time. And we’re ready,” Mollica said.

Glenwood got a shot in the arm to those hopes when Marco Salmen returned to action a few weeks ago after sitting out most of the season with a leg injury.

Running on the same course as the regional meet at last week’s Palisade Invitational, Salmen finished in second place with a season-best time of 16 minutes, 41 seconds.

Chris Coddington, who shouldered the load for the Demons before Salmen’s return, is also in line for a top-10 finish. The senior posted a time of 16:41 early in the season, one of the top times in the state this year.

And times for Glenwood’s remaining three varsity runners have dropped steadily throughout the year.

Alex Tiernan, a Roaring Fork High School sophomore who runs for the Demons, has turned in a number of Top 15 finishes. German Gil and Alec Littler are capable, according to Mollica, to finish among the Top 25.

The strongest challenge to Glenwood’s team title aspirations come from Montrose, Mullen (out of Denver) and host Palisade from the 10 teams scheduled to compete.

The Indians have a potent one-two punch in returning state qualifier Ben Tobler and teammate Ben Aufterheide. Mullen is led by senior Luke Crespin, who clocked a 15:58.90 in a second-place finish at the Liberty Bell Invitational at Littleton High School.

Palisade’s stable of runners include sophomore Glen Randall and senior Brian Weaver. Randall won the Palisade Invitational in 16:34. Weaver finished third.

Rifle will be led by David Suminski and Joe Schmitz.

On the girls side, it’s been a down year for the area.

Both Glenwood and Rifle’s rosters consists of underclassmen. They will use Saturday’s meet to gain valuable experience for the future.

The Class 3A West regional will be held at the Crested Butte Golf Course, where the Alpine Christian’s March Thompson and Whitney Lund should be in contention for a Top 15 finish in the girls’ race.

The top four teams and the top 15 individual runners from both meets advance to next week’s state championships at Kent Denver High School.

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