Editor's note: This is an installment in a series highlighting the accomplishments of those Moffat County High School athletes named All-Conference and All-Conference honorable mention during the 2000-2001 athletic seasons.
The four days spent in Rapid City, S. D., are some of the most memorable days in Moffat County High School runner Colten Grinolds' cross country career.
"We'd go up to the hills to visit Mount Rushmore, and do all the tourist things.
After that we'd run against Coach [Mike] Gleason's old team. I've done it for the past two years and its been great," Grinolds said. Grinolds is a junior, and has been running competitively for five years, starting, in seventh grade.
He chose running over other sports mainly because of his size, feeling that he would have a better chance to excel in sport like running.
"I wasn't really big when I was younger, so I though that running would make a better fit than most other sports," Grinolds said.
It's a good fit for the junior. In Grinolds' three years on Moffat County High School's cross country team, he has placed no lower then 15th at regionals, receiving All-Conference acknowledgment twice along the way, and finished 69th at state this year.
Grinolds plans to make his senior year his best, setting goals of placing in the top three in regionals and top 25 in state. He has a plan for achieving these heights in his final high school year increased miles during the summer, and to once again return to the yearly cross country camp held in Buffalo Wyo.
"Hopefully I can come into next season as the number-one boy on the team. I'm going to put the work into reaching that goal," he said.
All his work is not just for Grinolds' personal satisfaction, it's also to earn a scholarship in the next year. Grinolds hopes to go where many other long-distance runners in the state want to go Western State College in Gunnison.
Western State College is the cream of the crop in NCAA division-two cross country. Coach Duane Vandenbusche was division-two Coach of the Year
last season, and has led the Western State Mountaineers to three national championships in the past five years, including a title last year.
This is Grinolds' dream school, but he is keeping his options open in case the Mountaineers don't call.
"Western State is where I really want to go, but I've got to look at other schools just to be safe," he said.