Moffat County cross country on path to success
There’s something afoot with the Moffat County High School cross country — Of course, they kind of need that particular body part to do what they do.
The runners of the fall season are going the distance as they face several more weeks of races.
After some early results that have shown what the striders are capable of this season, coaches Todd Trapp and Jennifer Pressgrove have them working on strategies to build up to a peak performance.
Runners have already proved their endurance on the 5K courses in Colorado Springs, Delta and Littleton to start the year. Now the name of the game is increasing speed, Trapp said.
“We’re going to start that phase for the next couple weeks, really train hard for the next month,” he said. “You want to have your best meets at the end of the year, that’s what we want to see.”
Finding the right times to kick and alternately pace one’s self is an art form, said juniors Garrett Flint and Isiac Roop.
“I need to get better starts, just get out there quicker,” Roop said.
Flint said he needs to work on the opposite.
“It seems like I die off at the two-and-a-half-mile mark,” he said.
The two are both finding themselves improving as they continue in the sport, and it’s an ongoing process.
“We have a strong team for state, I know we’ll get there,” Flint said. “We’re spending some good quality time together.”
Cross country has seven seniors on the roster this year, among them Ashley Suits and Emily Womble, who regularly finished as the top Moffat County runners last year in the boys and girls varsity races, respectively, garnering attention within the 3A division leading up to the beginning of the season on running site MileSplit.
Things could easily change this year, though — Suits is coping with an injury that has slowed him down, while Connor Scranton has stepped up in his debut to contend with Riley Allen, Brandon Beason and other returning runners as another capable athlete.
“(Scranton’s) had some success in track and wants to help the team and it’s tough for him to do with football, but he’s a good athlete and willing to put time in and work hard,” Trapp said. “Any time you have those kids, you want to get them involved in as much as possible.”
Among Womble, Ary Shaffer and Allie Dilldine, the heat is on to be the best and lead the younger girls.
“There’s competition among all the varsity girls,” Dilldine said, noting finishing times have been quite close. “It’s really cool for us to have that many girls in one spot in the front. I think it’s going to go back and forth every week.”
MCHS also has two Hayden runners — Makenna Knez and Chris Carrouth — joining their ranks this year. Among the standouts of Moffat County’s cross country program is Hayden’s Chris Zirkle, who competed alongside the Bulldogs and won race after race in 2010.
And, it was no accident that after a season of following Zirkle’s footsteps, Alfredo Lebron went on to claim the state championship for Moffat County the following year.
In a sport that’s all about achieving personal goals and self-motivation, the desire to do what it takes to continually be better comes from within, Trapp said.
“It’s all up to them how good they want to be,” he said.
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It wouldn’t be a league event for Moffat County High School track and field athletes without bringing home some hardware, and the Bulldogs earned some metal last weekend.