Steamboat Springs cross-country team prepares for regional meet |

Steamboat Springs cross-country team prepares for regional meet

Luke Graham

— It's the meet the Steamboat Springs High School cross-country team is set up for.

As coach Greg Long implements his running program, it's designed to see the best times of the year at the regional meet Wednesday in Delta.

Last year, it worked as every runner saw a personal best. And on a fast, hard course primed for fast times, that's again what Long expects to see.

"I expect season bests," Long said. "I want everyone to run a (personal record) for the day. That's what I'm hoping for."

Getting individuals and potentially the girls and boys teams to state is a different matter. Region 6 features three top teams on the girls and boys sides. With five teams guaranteed spots at state, that leaves two spots aside.

"Then there are about eight other teams battling for those other two spots," Long said.

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On the girls side, the Sailors will be paced by Meg O'Connell. Long said the plan for the girls team is to have athletes run as a team with O'Connell out in front. He said it's not the start that is important but rather the second mile of the 5-kilometer race. He said that traditionally, runners go out too fast and then slow up too much. Ideally, he said, his girls will push on that second mile and make up spots and time.

"They have to run a smart first mile and press the second mile and really pick up places," Long said. "They really have to commit to that second mile."

In addition to O'Connell, Gabrielle Anderson, Kelly Borgerding and Lena Barker will be looking for personal bests.

Long called Alex Tumminello the wild card. Tumminello has been out with an injury, and Wednesday's meet will be her first in a month.

Long said it’s similar on the boys side with as many as eight teams battling for the final two state team spots.

Colton Lewer should have a shot to get into the top 15 and qualify as an individual. Long said Lewer will go out and try and get in the top 15 while his other runners will have to stick together and attack the second mile.

Tyler Scott, Hunter McLean, Charles Tisch and Tanner Morrison will have to run good races for Steamboat to qualify as a team.

Although it's still murky, Long said each Steamboat team should have a legitimate shot to qualify, especially considering the improvement in times.

"We're coming off a slow course, we're tapered right, and if the flat course improves as much as we think they can, it can happen," he said. "Because the way our program is, every meet is a practice until regionals."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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