Speed kills | CraigDailyPress.com

Speed kills

Bulldog Mile final tune-up for state

John Vandelinder

— High school cross country is a 5,000-meter race – or a little more than three miles – on dirt, other times grass, and many times gravel.

Courses usually are across rough terrain, streams and mountain sides.

Harriers run in the rain, snow and sleet.

The course and environment is always changing, but, to the competitors, the constant is the starting point.

Where separation occurs, is in the last mile.

Just ask Moffat County High School state-finalist Alicia Nelson.

Recommended Stories For You

Without even knowing it, Nelson summed up the importance of the last mile Saturday after winning the 4A girls Region 5 championship.

“We got to the 2-mile mark and then the last mile was all out,” she said about her and teammate Maddy Jougensen’s 1-2 finish.

Simply put by the three-time regional champion.

But, her message was loud and clear:

Races are won and lost in that final mile.

The Bulldogs held their annual Bulldog Mile on Tuesday at the MCHS track, the final, difficult tune-up for the team before Saturday’s state finals in Fort Collins.

And despite the snow falling on the track and the frigid temperatures Tuesday, the Bulldogs were running.

Bulldog coach Todd Trapp understands the importance of finishing each race strong, so the seventh-year man instituted the yearly all-or-nothing race specifically for that reason.

“The last mile is very important,” Trapp said. “In order to finish well in a 5K, you’ve got to be able to finish that last mile at a good pace.”

So, the team put on cleats and ran the required four laps around the MCHS blacktop.

An entire season of difficult, and sometimes grueling, practices and workouts culminates with the Bulldog Mile.

Trapp said he wants the team to add a few more valuable attributes before competing on the sport’s biggest stage.

“One thing it does is build speed and confidence, letting the team know they can run a fast mile,” Trapp said. “Of course, we probably won’t have super fast times today because of the weather, but more than anything, it’s about effort. We’ll put the hard effort out now, and the next time we really have to put that hard effort out is at the state meet.”