Steamboat Springs Although the Steamboat Springs cross-country team again will be short on seniors, its apparent confidence stems from the fact that it has something that was missing in the past - depth.
"(The roster) changes every day," coach Glen Light said before Tuesday's practice, as another student approached him to sign up. "Right now, I've got 26. That's the most I've had since I started two seasons ago."
Having graduated two runners from last year's state-qualifying boys team, Light said seniors Matt Hill and Lee Wren and sophomore Charlie Stoddard have all spent significant amounts of time training this summer and should be able to immediately post competitive times. Light also expects varsity scoring contributions from junior T.J. Anderson sophomore Bryce Gordon.
"I've been running a ton - I did the seventh leg with a 7 percent grade from Laramie to Walden in the Wild West Relay," said Hill, who is co-captaining the boy's team with Anderson. "There's just two seniors (on the boys team) like last year. Me, Lee and Charlie will step up, and, hopefully, some of the other guys will, too."
A potential season-ending leg injury to sophomore Cassady Roberts, who was the only female state qualifier last year, means members of the girls team, captained by seniors Courtney Adamo and Anna Anderson, also will need to find a way to step up.
Light said he was optimistic about the potential of sophomore Rachael Caires and junior Alyssa Walter, along with a couple of other "new editions."
"We've got a lot of people," Walter said. "I think we'll be good with a lot bigger team."
Having trained for the past three weeks, Light set up a one-mile, time-trial circuit around Steamboat Springs Middle School for his teams Tuesday afternoon to help establish base fitness levels.
"Right now, it's just about getting miles in," Light said. "The training theory is to increase intensity and to decrease duration as the season progresses."
Light's team finished fourth last year at regionals, and this year, he looks to improve in a competitive league in which he picked Battle Mountain and Moffat County as Steamboat's toughest rivals.
Light won't make any hasty predictions about the season, but he knows one thing for sure: "Numbers are always a good thing."
The Sailors first meet, the Steamboat Springs Invitational, is tentatively scheduled for Saturday morning at Howelsen Hill.
- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org