Moffat County, Craig Middle School cross country teams going full speed | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County, Craig Middle School cross country teams going full speed

High school seeks regional honors Friday, CMS runners attending state Saturday

Moffat County long-distance runners haven't quite crossed the finish line on the season yet, but you can bet it will be a celebration once they do because they're far from running on empty.

This weekend holds the biggest races yet this year as Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School attends the 3A Region 1 meet in Delta and a handful of attends the 3A Region 1 meet in Delta and a handful of Craig Middle SchoolCraig Middle School runners make their way to the state championships in Denver. runners make their way to the state championships in Denver.

Moffat County High School attends the 3A Region 1 meet in Delta and a handful of Craig Middle School runners make their way to the state championships in Denver.

The middle school state event, a course at Denver's Fehringer Ranch Park, is a 3.5-kilometer run open to all Colorado athletes in grades six through eight, though it's not officially sanctioned through the school.

CMS will be represented by Emma Jones, Halle Hamilton, Coltyn Terry and brothers Wyatt and Noah Mortenson, all of whom also ran the Steamboat Sneak 5K Oct. 15 in preparation for the big time.

CMS coach Chad Backsen said he is more than pleased with the effort his runners have made to go the extra mile, or more literally, two miles.

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"We had a seven-week season, and I had planned for them to peak at our Delta meet, so it's a lot of work for them to have two peaks," he said. "It's a challenge for them to increase their intensity for one more week, but each of those runners has a lot of experience, so they can handle a three-week peak just fine. All five of them are very self-motivated."

Backsen will be unable to see how his runners perform as he is assisting the MCHS teams in their readying for regionals, the team spending the week getting in their best shape yet, taking to the paths of Loudy-Simpson Park this week and last — including Homecoming time trials — as well as keeping limber on the school track by utilizing the hurdles to do a multitude of workouts to ensure legs and torsos are primed.

"It gives them good flexibility, flexor strengthening, helps them stay loose, injury-free as much as possible," said head coach Todd Trapp. "Ultimate goal is to feel fresh on Friday and ready to roll."

MCHS will send the entire girls team to Delta and, with a cap of nine individuals, the boys will include Riley Allen, Connor Scranton, Chris Carrouth, Carter Severson, Brandon Beason, Garrett Flint, Tyler Driggs, Wyatt Boatright and Wyatt Bellio.

After taking second place as a team to Gunnison last year, the boys have their best shot in years to win a regional championship, Trapp said.

"These guys have been hungry since last year to get back in there and try and win that," he said.

A smaller girls side goes into the meet as the defending champs for the past four seasons, and while a fifth consecutive win at regionals may be a bit too much to hope for among highly competitive Western Slope schools, Trapp sees a solid performance that will still qualify them for state as a group among the top four teams.

"I know it's possible for them to do that, and the girls have just got to believe that same thing and put everything into that race," he said. "This is what we've been gearing up for all year."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.