Thursday, September 8, 2005
The varsity teams are not set, but one thing is certain: The Steamboat Springs girls cross-country team is young.
There are no seniors. The only runners with experience are junior Anna Anderson and sophomores Alyssa Walter and Mollie Wunder. But Walter isn't selling the girls team short.
"It seems strong right now," Walter said. "It looks good."
Coach Glen Light has 21 runners out for this year's cross-country team -- boys and girls. Fourteen are new. Most of those are freshmen.
Given the youth of the girls, a regional title is unlikely, and a state cross-country meet berth could be out of the question, as well, but that won't necessarily be the goal of this year's team.
"The priority is to hook them," Light said.
He sees promise in the younger runners. Many of them are Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes who are no strangers to hard workouts and competition. The others are taking part in their first varsity sport.
Light said the team is one week ahead of where it was at this point last year because he is familiar with the program. Last year, he was hired after the season started and seemingly simple things such as requesting a bus were foreign.
Now, he has the practice and travel schedules down. He just has to remember the names of all the new faces.
Two people he is counting on to lead the program are veterans Sam Tarrant and Matt Hill. Soroco senior Kieran Corrigan, who runs cross country with the Sailors, had a breakthrough season last year and should be a top runner this season.
Besides those runners, the team is fairly inexperienced but possibly more talented than expected. Light said he really has to wait to see.
The Steamboat Springs cross-country season opens at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with the Steamboat Invitational. The girls run at 9:30 a.m. The boys follow at 10 a.m. Both run a five-kilometer course at Howelsen Hill.