Now is the time Moffat County runners hope a season of training pays off.
With a regional title under their belts, the girls cross country team left Craig for Colorado Springs Friday morning to get ready for the Colorado High School Cross Country Championship today.
In their noon race, the girls will be looking to bring home another trophy and return to Craig as state champions.
Head coach Todd Trapp has calibrated the team’s training since regionals Oct. 17 to put them in the best position he can for the final race.
“We took a few days for recovery right after the tough race at regionals,” Trapp said. “We worked on turnover, but more than anything we want kids to come into this race really feeling fresh and ready for a great race.”
The Bulldogs raced on the course at the Norris Penrose Events Center in their first meet of the year, but this time the stakes are higher, and they will be up against the best 3A has to offer in Colorado.
Other region winners Frontier Academy (from Greeley), Salida and Holy Family (Broomfield) will all be fierce competitors, as will narrow runners-up Colorado Academy (Lakewood) and Estes Park. Trapp thinks those teams and Moffat County could finish in just about any order, so it will be important for them to focus on their own race.
“There’s about five different teams that are really tough and could go anywhere,” Trapp said. “For us to focus on one team or two teams I think would just be taking our focus elsewhere, and we need to have a great race of our own. If we have a great race, then I think our results are going to be good.”
Before the girls even take the course, though, another Bulldog will have already crossed the finish line. Jarrett Johnson qualified for the state meet as an individual from the boys team, and has spent the past 10 days as the lone boy at practice.
He will have to run without teammates at the 10 a.m. race for the first time this season, but Trapp is looking for this to be a learning experience for Johnson.
“The main thing for him is to gain experience at his first state meet,” Trapp said. “As time goes on, then he can really compete when he’s older. I think he feels good about his performance and he’s just ready to have another solid run to finish out the season.”
The course at the Penrose Events Center is difficult and produces slower times than most others in the state. Trapp doesn’t want his athletes worrying about time though, because it won’t produce awards for the team.
“What it really comes down to now is we’re competing for place,” he said. “Who can be in great position after the hill (a little over a mile into the course) and who can run well after that hill. We’ve talked about two spots on the course, the hill and the finish. Mentally knowing and believe that you can run a strong hill, that’s the big thing.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.