Rivalry not a top priority for runners | CraigDailyPress.com

Rivalry not a top priority for runners

David Pressgrove

The friendly banter has gone back and forth all week between Moffat County juniors Jake Miller and Jeremy Bird.

It sounded something like this: “You know you think you’ve got it won,” Bird would say.

“Whatever, I guess we’ll see,” Miller would respond.

Coach Todd Trapp heard the talk. To the coach it’s all verbiage because he’s indifferent about who wins as long as they finish first and second.

“I’ve been talking race strategy with them all week,” he said. “I would like for them to go out together and then race the last mile.”

The guys have heard their coach; they’re just not sure what they think about the strategy.

“We might do that,” Miller said.

“But I think we’ll run our own race,” Bird said, finishing Miller’s thought for him.

They can talk all they want, but in the end “the main focus is to win the region as a team,” Miller said.

The two friends finished second and third last week on the same course they will run Saturday. Miller led that race as he has all season. Even with Bird and Miller, Moffat lost to Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs.

For their goal to be met this week runners three, four and five know their roles.

“We have to run a better race,” senior Ricardo Pinedo said. “I was behind Battle Mountain’s three and four guys last week. I need to be in front of them, and Mike needs to be with me.”

Pinedo was talking about sophomore Mike McNichol. He has been the team’s third runner consistently this year, but he was the sixth finisher last week.

“It’s pretty simple,” Pinedo said. “If Shane, Mike and I can run together we can take the region.”

Trapp agreed.

“There’s not one distinct team that can just show up and win it,” he said. “It’s between us, Steamboat, Battle Mountain and Montrose.”

Like the boys, the girls team will also need to have better-than-average performances from its second through fifth runners. The Bulldogs will be without junior Amber Suits because she went to her brother’s graduation for the weekend. Suits has been the team’s second runner in the past three meets.

“Those runners after (freshman) Alicia (Nelson) have all had good races for us this year,” Trapp said. “With Alyssa (Macomber) running better last week, it’s a good sign of improvement.”

Battle Mountain is the favorite in the girls race. The Huskies distanced themselves from the rest of the region by finishing 60 points ahead of the closest competitor last week. Then it’s Glenwood and Moffat.

Sophomore Jeacey Robin-son, who has been as good as the team’s second runner this year, plans to go after the black jerseys in the race.

“There’s no excuse for me to run as poorly as I did last week,” she said. “We have to pack up and go after Battle Mountain.”

The top four teams in the region qualify for the state meet in Colorado Springs next weekend.

The Region 5 meet begins with the girls at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Riverbend Park in Palisade. The boys race will follow.

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