Moffat County High School senior Eryn Leonard, seen here during last year’s state cross-country meet, is looking to return to the state competition this year and leave with a better result. Both the girls and boys cross-country teams open the 2012 season Friday.

File Photo

Moffat County High School senior Eryn Leonard, seen here during last year’s state cross-country meet, is looking to return to the state competition this year and leave with a better result. Both the girls and boys cross-country teams open the 2012 season Friday.

Off and Running

Questions abound for boys team; girls return experienced group

Teams at a Glance:

Moffat County High School girls cross-country

Coach: Todd Trapp

Returning seniors: Eryn Leonard, Savannah Williams, Bailey Hellander and Sassy Murray

2011: Finished 20th at state meet

Moffat County High School boys cross-country

Coach: Todd Trapp

Returning seniors: None

2011: Finished sixth at state

Quotable

“We return a good portion of our varsity from last year. I think our girls are going to be competitive from the beginning of the year through the end at regionals and state.”

—Todd Trapp, MCHS cross country coach, about the girls cross country team’s outlook for 2012

It’s time to start building that base.

The boys and girls cross country teams at Moffat County High School have been running most of the summer, building up stamina for the fall season.

Starting Aug. 31, runners will show their preparation has paid off, or be exposed in the early portion of the season for not being in great shape.

In 2012, the two cross country teams at MCHS figure to look different from last year.

The 2011 boys team featured individual state champion Alfredo Lebron, along with several other talented seniors.

For the upcoming season, coach Todd Trapp knows it will be about building the team from the ground up.

“Definitely we lost our whole varsity from last year so we’re starting fresh,” Trapp said. “We have a lot of younger runners that haven’t ran cross country before. It’s going to some time for them to understand the sport. It will take the course of the season for them to gradually build up.”

Junior Tyler Gerber is running with the team for the first time. A shoulder injury last school year prevented Gerber from playing football this fall, so he is giving cross-country a try.

“I was needing something to do, so I figured I’d do cross-country,” Gerber said. “I’ve done a little running before with track.”

While this boys team will not enjoy the success the senior-laden squad did last year, Trapp is still excited about the challenge.

“It’s kind of cool to have a new, young group of kids we can work with and build something new,” he said.

Gerber said his individual and team goals right now are just to work hard, because he doesn’t really know what he or his teammates will be capable of.

“We just want to try our best,” he said. “We’ve got a lot to look up to, last year we had the state champion but they all left so it’s kind of hard for us to know what we’re supposed to be. We just have to go with the flow and listen to what Trapp has for us to do.”

The girls team will help flip the script for MCHS cross-country even more this year. That team, which was not quite as successful last year, returns several key runners and figures to be a factor later in the season.

Leading the way will be senior Eryn Leonard, who has lofty aspirations for this season.

“I want to make it to state with the team and to get in the top five for state,” Leonard said of her goals this season. “I did really bad last year at state. I got injured at the end of the year so I came in 75th. I’m out for redemption, big time.”

Leonard’s individual goals aside, the returning experience has Trapp thinking the team will be strong.

“We have quite a few returners,” Trapp said. “We return a good portion of our varsity from last year. I think our girls are going to be competitive from the beginning of the year through the end at regionals and state.”

Aside from Leonard, upperclassmen Brenna Ciesco, Aubrey Campbell, Bailey Hellander and Savannah Williams (who runs for Hayden in track but MCHS in cross-country) are all coming back.

That core group of runners, accompanied with the team’s move to Class-3A this year, means the Bulldogs should be strong.

The biggest difference in 3A is only four runners score points toward the team total, as opposed to the five that scored when MCHS was in 4A.

Leonard said 3A is also not quite as deep as 4A.

“There’s a lot of good teams in 3A but not as many,” she said. “In 4A there’s a lot of really, really good teams and in 3A there’s a couple really good teams. The competition isn’t as big.”

Moving to 3A won’t make a big difference for MCHS until the regional and state meets, as the team will be competing at several regular season meets against 4A and 5A schools. Trapp said it is important to him to go to the more competitive meets.

No matter what the Bulldogs’ competition looks like, Trapp is ready to get started.

“It’s definitely exciting,” he said. “We had an awesome camp and a really great group of kids who work hard. They want to be successful.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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