By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
Even in pain, people can achieve.
Sophomore Kyle Eitel learned this firsthand Saturday at the regional cross country meet in Delta. Eitel ran his best time of the season despite the pain of stomach cramps.
The sophomore posted a time of 18:30, nearly a minute faster than he has run all year. The time not only meant a personal record for Eitel, but that he and his team will make the trip to Kent High School in Denver to compete in the state meet.
"The cramp hit me after the second mile, but I was able to get through it and finish up the race," he said. "It was pretty important how I finished up since I was the team's fifth runner. My time was the last deciding factor if the team made state."
The boys team did make state finishing with enough points to grab the fourth and final qualifying spot.
But it wasn't only the boys who endured a little pain and suffering on their road to glory. The girls' cross country team fought to defend its fourth straight regional title and its fourth straight berth to the state meet.
Junior Sheila McNicol has been fighting pain in her right knee for the past few weeks, and it was present at regionals as well. McNicol was able to put the pain aside long enough to pull into 21st place, with a time of 21:34.
The time was more than enough to contribute to a team score so low that the next closest team had twice as many points.
"It was Sheila's first meet back since the Oct. 6 Aspen Invitional, and the first meet back is always the hardest," coach Mike Gleason said. "We hope she can bounce back for the state meet, but one thing we do know is no matter what, she'll give everything she's got that's the kind of runner she is."
The Western Slope Regional Meet is held on what many considere the fastest course Moffat County High School has run on Confluence Park in Delta.
The course, in runner's rhetoric, is flat and fast. It is a course that requires a fast start, and a strong finish to find success.
"It's just a course that you have to get out on fast, and force yourself to keep running fast," said senior Beth White, who finished in sixth-place overall with a time of 19:52.
The top finisher for the girls team was senior Charlotte Steele, who finished in second place with a time of 18:32. Glenwood Springs' Caroline Cretti edged Steele out for a first-place with a time of 18:07.
Rounding out the top finishes for the Lady Bulldogs were juniors Danielle Brown in third place, and Laurel Mortensen in fourth.
"It just feels awesome to have been part of four regional championship teams," Steele said. "It just shows we can come in any year and win."
While the boys team didn't see any top-five finishes at the regional meet, they did see two in the top ten.
The Bulldogs No. 1 runner, junior Bryce Ellgen, finished the year as the team's top runner. Ellgen finished in eighth place with a time of 16:34 in Delta. He was followed by senior Colton Grinolds in ninth place with a time of 17:14.
Sophomore Anthony Loughran and junior Tim Bailey were the next two finishers for the Bulldogs, pulling in 11th and 14th places, respectively.
"You just have to go into regionals with it in your mind that your going to give it your all," Ellgen said. "Whatever the outcome, you go with it."