Nervous thoughts before our first meet
It’s September though I’m just now beginning to accept the idea that August will be here soon. Our first meet is tomorrow, Sept. 2, and we aren’t really sorted out for the season yet.
We’ll have two girls running in the race and won’t score in the team race but I’m eager to see each of them run. Tiffany Reno has made giant strides in some of the things which are byproducts of running, confidence and toughness. I’ve asked her to take it easy the first part of the race and finish strongly. Crystal Berndt is emerging from the shadow of Jessica Gogarty’s leadership and becoming a leader herself. She wants to do well this year and has been training well. We’ll see how she does.
The trio of Kyle Reno, Chad Stapleton and Brad Winn have been training consistently and well. Chad was one of our two individual state qualifiers last season and is coming off a stellar track season. Kyle is coming back from an injury which affected him for several months. Brad also had a good track season and will be running with people who were ahead of him last year.
Jon Todd Baker has been splitting time between soccer, which is short handed. I’m hoping that soccer training might enable him to hold back and use his blazing speed at the finish. Adam Arellano has been playing golf and doing some running on his own. It will be fun to see what he can do tomorrow. Steve Kirkendall is playing football for Rye but will make his debut Tuesday at the Hornet Invitational at the Hollydot West course in Colorado City where he is defending champion. He was a minute and a half faster at this year’s Beulah Challenge.
We may pick up a couple more soccer players including Kaven Rhule, a cross country letter winner from last year. Curtis Long will be with us as soon as he gets in the required number of practices and he will add a great deal to the team.
The first meet of the season punctured any balloons that may have existed concerning the high level of Colorado cross country. In the womens race Jacquiline Gallegos from Pojaque NM eased away from the field and won in a meet record 18:50, over a minute faster than second place finisher Natalie Hughes of Palisade, who had to sprint in the final 300 meters to pass a Gallup runner. In her first three high school track seasons Hughes, the defending 4A cross country champion, has won state titles in the 800, 1600 and 3200 three times each, but four minutes into this race Hughes couldnt even smell Gallegos’ perfume. And the sad news for Colorado jingoists is that Gallup left a girl home with an injured hip who beats Gallegos big time. Gallup won the team race.
Our two girls naturally didn’t win the team race but Crystal Berndt ran a PR 22:19 to finish 23rd. Tiffany Reno broke thirty minutes for the first time with a strong 28:41.
C. R. Davis of Gallup won the mens race in 16:09, also a meet record, to lead his team to an easy victory, 35 to Pojaque’s 63. Chad Stapleton was our top finisher in 47th place, 18:39. Chad was about 120th less than a mile into the race and just over 70th after the two mile. Kyle Reno finished 101st in 20:01, Brad Winn 104th in 20:08, Adam Arellano 146th in a PR 20:42, and Jon Todd Baker 152nd in 22:11. We were 13th and last as a team.