Craig Middle School runners eyeing state finals
CRAIG — The season is complete for the Craig Middle School cross country program, though some runners will be going the extra mile — or two — this weekend.
CMS cross country’s schedule finished with the Chris Severy Invite Oct. 7 in Aspen.
CMS boys were second, overall, led by Logan Hafey in seventh, Owen Gifford 15th and Kenny Fredrickson 17th for the placement points.
Filling out the sizable roster were Boden Reidhead, Carson Laehr, Carter Behrman, Noah Mortenson, Grady Wooden, Ian Trevenen, Jackson Olinger, Alex Nichols, Kadin Hume, Hudson Jones, Tommy Weber, Evan Allen, Logan Bickford, Zach Craig, Tommy Driggs and Garrett Mercer.
CMS girls had fewer runners for their final race but stuck closer together, as Bree Meats, Megan Neton and Emma Jones were 17th, 18th and 19th, respectively, finishing within seconds of each other to put the team at fifth, while Joslyn Bacon and Brook Wheeler placed at No. 50 and 66.
CMS coach Chad Backsen said a handful of injuries have affected the team recently, though athletes have powered through as much as possible.
“The ones who were able to run really showed up,” he said of the Aspen meet.
The invite was the final official race for the Bulldogs, but runners Halle Hamilton and Emma Jones will continue separately Saturday during the Colorado Middle School State Championships at Denver’s Fehringer Ranch Park.
The two were among several CMS runners to compete at state last year and will again represent the school in an unofficial capacity in the 3K race.
Hamilton split her time this fall between cross country and volleyball and was unable to travel to Aspen while playing in — and winning — the district tournament for the latter sport.
Even so, of the four races she ran for the Bulldogs — Oak Creek and Wyoming’s Rawlins, Rock Springs and Saratoga — she finished first, overall, among girls in each.
Though she wasn’t able to run in several of the events, she wasn’t about to miss state.
“Now that we’ve been there, we want to see how we can improve and how we can be prepared for high school,” Hamilton said.
Jones’ best finish was fourth place in Saratoga, a flat course that was drastically different from the bumpy terrain in Aspen, which she said provided a good challenge.
“The guys and girls really had to push themselves, because we knew it was the last one,” she said. “It was hard, but we got through it.”
With runners ranging from sixth- to eighth-grade, CMS cross country should retain considerable numbers, Backsen said, adding that those moving on to Moffat County High School will add a great deal to the long-distance program.
“I’m excited to see where eighth-graders go; they really have a lot to offer. They’re talented in a lot of areas,” he said.