Steamboat Springs High School senior Asher Rohde leads a pack of runners Thursday. Rohde is expected to lead the Sailors boys cross-country team this fall. The team will open the season today at a meet in Delta.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs High School senior Asher Rohde leads a pack of runners Thursday. Rohde is expected to lead the Sailors boys cross-country team this fall. The team will open the season today at a meet in Delta.

Steamboat Springs cross-country opens season

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— Friday’s meet in Delta marks the start of what Steamboat Springs High School senior Asher Rohde hopes will be a season to remember for the cross-country team.

The returning two-time state qualifier is expected to lead one of the largest Sailors cross-country squads in recent memory. Friday’s races will be held at Confluence Park starting at 2 p.m. The girl’s race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., and the boys will follow at 3 p.m.

“I’m pretty happy about the number of runners who came out for the team this year,” Rohde said. “We have 10 guys out for the team, which is the most ever since I’ve been on the team.”

Sailors coach Andy Reust is similarly happy with the turnout. Of the 10 boys, several have cross-country experience. The girls are less experienced, but also have solid numbers with 11 athletes coming out for the team.

“We are young on the girls side,” Reust said. “The number of runners is exciting for the program and hopefully we will be able to keep those numbers in the future.”

To fuel the excitement, Reust is taking a progressive approach to the season and has made it clear that the main focus will be preparing the team for the regional meet in Delta in October.

“I just want to see our runners build every week. I want to see them get stronger and faster every week,” Reust said. “But there is really only one meet that counts, and that will be the regional meet in Delta. All the rest are really just official practices.”

The boys team is led by Rohde, who placed 34th in last year’s state meet in Aurora. Senior Scott Powers, juniors Colton Lewer, Tyler Scott, Hunter McLean, and sophomore Zach Sperry should will out the roster with help from freshmen David Kidd, Ben Lingle, Nick Mathews and Erik Rudolph.

The girls team is young but shows promise behind talented sophomore runners like Lena Barker, Kelly Borgerding, Emma Wilson, Maggie McElhiney and Bailey Pugh. The team has one senior in Maddie Traverse and a couple of first-year runners who could make an impression in Maddie Ruppel and Meg O’Connell. Reust also is excited to see a strong freshmen group that includes Serina Kidd, Mikaela Mathews and Lindsey Adler.

The coach said only a few of the runners on this year’s squad have trained through the summer, so he thinks it will take a few weeks before the team hits full stride. He has structured practices to keep the energy level high, and has laid out expectations so that the young teams don’t get frustrated on the way to the regional meet.

Reust also wants to encourage experienced runners in the community to help these young teams develop, especially on the girl’s side. He is inviting local runners to come out and run with the team from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call Reust at 970-291-9515 or show up in front of the high school on those nights.

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