Cross Country team gains confidence

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— Very few cross country runners head to Leadville for the Lake County Invitational to gain confidence.

But that's exactly what the members of the Steamboat Springs girls and boys cross country team did last weekend during the first 5-kilometer race of the 2002 season.

"I don't think we planned on doing that well, but we came back more confident than we were before," freshman runner Sam Tarrant said.

Tarrant did very well in his first meet of the season by winning his division with a time of 18 minutes, 13 seconds. Laura Philip also posted a second-place finish in the girls race to highlight the local results.

Tarrant, a Lowell Whiteman student, came to Steamboat from New York to train with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's freestyle team. He is running with the Sailors cross country team in an effort to stay in shape before the skiing season starts.

"I was really happy with the way the team's competed from top to bottom," Steamboat Springs coach John Smith said. "All of the runners recorded fast times and had solid finishes."

As a team the boys and girls placed first overall in the unlimited B class at the meet. Other top individual finishes included Jennifer Hooper's third, Lauren Lightfoot's fourth and Lisl Pearson's sixth on the girls side. Katie Conrath was also seventh.

Following Tarrant on the boy's side was Mike Gleason in third, Bjorn Arnesson in fourth and Marty Smith in fifth.

Coach Smith said he was happy with all of his team's finishes, but expects the competition to be a little stiffer in this week's Steamboat Springs Suffer Fest.

The Sailors will host the 5k races, which are set along the same trails as the World Cup Nordic Combined cross country course. There will be seven teams from around the state in town for the meet and the Sailors will be pitted against some of the best runners.

"I'm not really sure what to expect," Tarrant said. "I'm just going to go out and do the best I can and hope for fast times."

The Suffer Fest will begin with a citizen's race at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The girls at 9:30 a.m. and the boys will follow that event at approximately 10 a.m.

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