Thursday, September 14, 2000
Steamboat Springs When runners finish this Saturday's Steamboat Invitational Cross Country meet at the base of Howelsen Hill, the winners will be given ribbons embroidered with the words "Steamboat Springs Suffer fest."
"This is our only home meet of the season, so we want it to be one that everyone will remember," Sailors head coach John Smith said.
The meet will start at 8:30 a.m. with a public race. The first high school race will be the girls at 9:30 a.m., and the boys will follow at 10 a.m.
The 5-kilometer course will be set in a figure-eight design, which will take advantage of the varied terrain at the base of Howelsen Hill. The course will include several steep climbs and some very challenging terrain features found in the area.
"We want to make this one of the toughest races in Colorado," Smith said. "It will be fun, but it also has to be very challenging."
Smith said he expects seven or eight teams to come to Steamboat. It will be the first time the Sailors have hosted a regular-season meet.
Teams from Aspen, Meeker, Chatfield, Rangely and Battle Mountain will be at the Steamboat meet for sure. Smith said there may be a few last-minute entries as well.
"A lot of teams have expressed interest in running here," Smith said. "But some of the teams still haven't committed."
Smith said his runners are coming off a solid meet last Saturday in Leadville. The Steamboat team will be looking to build on those results in its own backyard Saturday.
Smith is expecting veteran runners Brynn Weaver and Rachel Starr as well as freshman Tara Wernig to have a strong meet.
The Sailors boys team will be led by senior runner Matt Hayne, who attends Soroco High School, and junior Cody Firestone.
There are also several up-and-coming runners on both the boys and girls teams who enjoyed top results last weekend in Leadville.
Several runners who attend Whiteman High School but run for the Steamboat team will miss the meet because of a school function.
Smith said the Steamboat team has always drawn a lot of runners from the surrounding schools.
This year's team is no exception, with runners coming from the Christian Heritage School, Soroco High School and Whiteman. None of those schools has its own cross-country programs, so the runners are invited to run with the Steamboat Springs program.
The last time the Sailors hosted a cross-country meet was in 1996. That year, Howelsen was the site of the regional championships.
"We want to have a cross-country meet here every year," Smith said. "We finally got the details worked out with the city."
Smith said the city of Steamboat Springs was very helpful in getting the high school meet here this year. The timing was perfect for the meet and the city because there wasn't much happening. Smith is hoping to keep the meet on the same weekend next year.
"It worked out for everyone involved, so it's great."
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org