Craig The Moffat County cross-country teams are putting in their final push for the end of the season beginning this week.
The Bulldogs are skipping formal competition this weekend in favor of concentrating on their training, with the hope of being at their best when the regional and state meets occur in a few weeks.
“This time of the year it can be good to take a week off, so that’s what we’re doing,” coach Todd Trapp said. “We’ll do a time trial Saturday (at Loudy-Simpson Park), same as the one we did at the beginning so the kids can see their improvement.”
They ran at the Anna Banana Memorial Wildcat Invitational in Fruita on Saturday, with the girls team placing fourth overall but as the top team from Class 3A. Brenna Ciesco has paced the Bulldogs all season and did again in Fruita, but sophomore teammate Emily Womble had another excellent race, finishing 12th in 20 minutes, 4 seconds.
The rest of the team also has been reliably solid all year, as well, which has the Bulldogs feeling they are in position to contend for a second straight regional title and a high place at the state meet.
“I ran better at (Anna Banana) than I did at that meet last year, so I think we’re in a good spot,” Ciesco said.
The boys team took 13th but was running against mostly 4A and 5A competition and didn’t have varsity runners Jarrett Johnson or Ashley Suits running in Fruita. They were led at that meet by sophomore Steven Walls, who finished in 19:06.
At the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs figured they would have a shot at being among the final teams to qualify from the western region to the state meet. With a full, healthy team, they appear to be in contention still.
“I think we’re in a really good spot, but we’re going to have to keep on working,” Walls said. “We’ve got to be working as hard as we can, and do that extra lap, that extra mile from here on out.”
The Bulldogs will train hard through their meet in Rifle on Oct. 10, and then they will begin a taper that allows them to be at their best for the regional meet Oct. 18 and state the following weekend. To achieve their goals, however, will require dropping more time.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work from here on out,” Ciesco said. “I think it has to be 110 percent effort, all the time. Every day, to win regionals.”
For the boys team, Trapp thinks a state qualification is possible, but it will require a few career times.
“With our guys, we haven’t seen a lot of our region" during the season so far, he said. “It’s going to take continuous effort and having a great race on regional day. I think we will need a few guys at least to run their personal bests on regional day.”
Walls also knows it will take a big-time effort in order to get there, but the team has come a long way since he joined last year.
“Us growing together as a family has helped us, I think,” he said. “Now, we’re in it for each other and not just running for ourselves.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.