Steamboat runners ready for state meet | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat runners ready for state meet

Going for personal bests

Luke Graham

Members of the Steamboat Springs High School cross-country team warm up Wednesday on the track. The team will travel to Fort Collins for Saturday's state meet.

When she first thinks about it, Steamboat Springs High School cross-country runner Brittany Long would like to know the ins and outs of the state course in Fort Collins.

But when the Sailors’ lone female participant in Saturday’s state championship race rethinks her decision, a different approach comes up.

Long, a senior, ran her personal best two weeks ago at Wiggins, a course she’d never seen before. Last week at the regional meet in Delta – a course Long was extremely familiar with and had eyed as another place to pick up a personal best – her time was slower.

“I’ve never raced (Fort Collins) before,” Long said. “I know absolutely nothing about the course. I think it can actually be an advantage. Wiggins, I’d never run it before, and it made it quicker. It makes it easier to get it over with.”

Joining Long and trying to heed her advice at the state meet – where no Steamboat runner knows the course – will be male runners Peter Daley, John Cutter, Buddy Kinder, Asher Rohde, Cam Comeau and Jack Burger. The boys qualified for the state meet as a team, after finishing third at the regional meet.

“With the guys team, I’m not really sure what the goal is,” Steamboat coach Matt Reinhold said. “I haven’t seen this guys team run yet. It’ll be interesting to see. I know we want to do better than last year. That’s our goal.”

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The boys team will be without the injured Charlie Stoddard, but gets back Jack Burger from the tennis team. Cutter missed three weeks because of a torn calf muscle, but along with Daley, now is running so well that the boys should be on pace to better last year’s finish.

“We just have to go out and feed on the energy of the pack and run our own race,” said Cutter, who admitted his calf isn’t 100 percent but feels better than when he got sixth place at regionals last week. “Luckily, Peter and I – and Peter has really stepped up – will run together and keep the energy going.”

Long said her goal is to break somewhere into the 19-minute mark, which would be a personal best. She said she’s treating the race like it’s her last, and pain certainly won’t be a problem.

“I went out slower last week,” Long said. “I think, for me, it will be key that I go out fast, and if I slow down, then I slow down.”

Reinhold said he doesn’t see any reason why all the members of the boys team can’t run personal-best times. Considering the flat Fort Collins course is known for producing fast times, Reinhold said he’s excited about the prospects for Saturday’s race.

“I’ve heard it’s flat. I’ve heard it’s fast,” Reinhold said. “I’m expecting some really quick times out of there.”

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com