Craig Although the Moffat County cross-country runners have each run more than 500 miles this season, they have yet to hit their peak training phase.
Coach Todd Trapp said despite two individual championships and a girls' team title at last week's home event, the team has its work cut out for it.
"We have a ton more miles still left on the schedule," he said. "This week is no different than the last. It's all about hard work."
Trapp pointed to next week as the "peaking phase," but also said this week's meet at Summit couldn't be overlooked.
Trapp sat his team down this week and had each runner set personal goals - individually and for the team.
"We are going to get a chance to measure ourselves up against some stiff competition Saturday," he said. "Summit High is a top-ranked squad that will provide a great assessment of where we are."
Summit and Steamboat High are the two teams Trapp expects the Bulldogs will have to contend with at state regionals.
Nine teams will travel to regionals, and three will advance to the state championship.
"We have targeted this weekend as the meet we have to try to beat those two teams," he said. "We need to put pressure on them and let them know the Bulldogs are in the race."
Trapp wants his team to focus on running through in Summit.
The coach explained running through as working on running technique and strategy during the course of a meet. Practice outside of meets is one element of progressing as a runner. Running through is another.
'It's not so much about trying to win a meet," Trapp said. "It's more about working on pace throughout the contest and even focusing on another runner that you feel you should be able to compete with - or even beat."
Trapp said that No. 1 runners Alicia Nelson and Mike McNicol have to run with a bull's-eye on their backs, after both captured first place last week.
"Mike and Alicia are champions now," he said. "Other teams will be targeting them as runners that they want to beat. They need to realize that they have a chance to win every race they are in. They should expect to win now."
The Summit course will provide a similar test for the Moffat County team as last week's course in Craig - a hilly test of endurance that isn't necessarily quick.
"We won three out of four titles last week, and the boys team finished second," Trapp said. "I see no reason why we can't duplicate that success."