The Cross Country Season Ended with a Bang this Year!

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During the pandemic in 2020, some cross country runners at GSHS were definitely getting a little fed-up. The season had to be cut much shorter, which meant less meets, less practice with friends, and in turn, less fun. Not to mention there were some odd meet regulations.

 

However, during the fall 2021 season, the schedule was able to go relatively back to normal. The team no longer had to do staggered starts (when the races have heats that are released at separate times) or worry about carrying a mask during a race. The team was also able to attend many more meets.

 

Since the team was so small this year, it was much harder to come to a decision about team captains. However, the coaches came up with a compromise. Seniors Ella Johnson, Maria Carlson, Tom Barton, and Junior Noah Fosnaught were team captains, while Senior Alicia Lowe and Junior Vincent Faas were dubbed this season’s “Directors of Fun”.

 

Regionals were on Friday, October 22nd this year, where both boys and girls teams did their usual race, a 5K, in Evergreen in the late afternoon. The runners were slightly nervous though, as the course would consist of three one-mile laps. Repetitive courses like this are extremely difficult, but the fact that they would be running around a graveyard, a weird “barn-house thingy,” and a field full of yaks made the runners feel slightly more lighthearted. Sure, running around a graveyard is pretty weird and creepy, but that and the yaks are what made it hilarious. 

 

On GSHS’ girls team, Carlson ran the course in 21:33.50 and came in 25th place out of the 108 girls who finished. Sophia Connerton-Nevin, a junior, ran the course in just 20:03.80 and took seventh place. Last, but not least, Johnson came in first place with an outstanding time of 18:41.80. The girls’ team came in 4th place overall and subsequently qualified for the 4A Colorado State Meet!

 

The boys also gave it their all, but it was an incredibly tough race. Will Hassel, a junior, came in 73rd place out of 100 with a time of 20:35.50. Senior Dylan West took 70th place and had a time of 20:29.10, and Tanner Merritt, a freshman who attends Yampah Mountain High School, finished with 19:59.70 and placed 61st. Unfortunately, the boys’ team as a whole scored 11th out of 12, but it was clear that everyone tried their best, and it was incredibly inspiring to watch.

 

On Friday, October 29th, the team left Glenwood and made their way to Colorado Springs. The runners spent the night laughing about the bad service at dinner, making memes about crappy hotel rooms, prank calling each other on the hotel room telephones, and getting lost in the building at curfew. Eventually, though, everyone fell asleep, nervous and excited for the event the next day.

 

The team checked out of their hotel at 11 o’clock, set up camp at the stadium, and later began warming up 45 minutes before the start, as usual. The course was slightly daunting though, with one particularly long and steep hill and a small part of the race being run through a stream. However, it was also exciting for some, as the last 100 meters or so of the race would be run through a giant stadium.

 

The race began with a false start, but once they got going it was unusually fast. At first it was slightly downhill until they reached the stream, which they were allowed to cross on a bridge at first. Then, they were thrown into a hill that gradually got steeper and steeper before turning into a downhill and relatively evening out. A very small way before the finish line, they had to run through the cold stream and push themselves up one last, small, steep hill before booking it to the end of the stadium.

 

Carlson finished in 76th place out of 157 finishers, with a time of 21:39.30. In 37th came Connerton-Nevin, with a time of 20:40.10. Connerton-Nevin was right behind Johnson, who finished in fourth place with a spectacular time of 18:28.50!

 

Overall, Glenwood Springs only ranked 11th out of 20, but everyone’s performances were still seen as tremendous achievements. Not only did the Glenwood girls’ team make it to state in the first place, but they also got through the tough course, which was incredibly difficult considering they were so far into such a rigorous season. Before the meet, Head Coach Aidan Goldie, and Assistant Coaches Travis Baptiste and Kim Worline, let their runners know that going to states was an amazing opportunity and they should all just have fun with it.

 

“Yeah, you all struggled a bit but you all seemed to have fun,” said Barton. “It also gave the underclass girls a good experience and a different type of racing for the team.”

 

Aside from the state meet, the entire season was tremendous. Barton said that he thought “that this was one of the best seasons we have had,” at least in recent years. “We did a lot more team bonding and that paid off, along with becoming more like a family than just teammates.”

 

When compared to other teams in the state, Glenwood Springs is a considerably smaller group than almost everyone else. But even though the team was small and, well, has a tendency to be forgotten by… everyone, being on the cross country team is something you will never forget. It’s less like a team and more like a family, where they meet almost every single day under the trees and go for some runs together. Everyone supports each other like best friends, and there’s no doubt that Glenwood Springs cross country athletes are the loudest cheerleaders at every single meet.

 

Now that the season is over, it’s beginning to weigh heavily on some runners’ minds that their beloved seniors will never have a season with them again. But as they mourn the loss of their longest standing family members, most of them still have the prospect of the next season, where they’ll be sure to run faster and stronger than ever before.