Panthers host cross country meet Sept. 20 near Granby
September 18, 2014
In the difficult terrain of one of Grand County's hundreds of trails, the Middle Park high school Cross Country team will host its first of two home races this season, and they have a lot to prove.
This year's team consists of one of the smallest groups of runners the school has fielded in quite a while. There are a total of 11 runners this year, seven boys and four girls, making it difficult for the team to be recognized amongst the other teams at Middle Park.
Despite his team's size, coach Scott Hicks has big goals for this years cross country team and he is determined to have his team be noticed for its efforts.
"I'd like to have five of our varsity boys run (the 5k) under 20 minutes, as well as have a boys team qualify for the State Meet," he said. "Hopefully I will also have at least two girls qualify for state. We may have a small team but we will still do some cool things this season."
All of Middle Park's runners were able to improve their times in just one meet. Some even improved their times by over two minutes. So far the boys team has had two 10th-place finishes in both of their first two meets this season. Junior Mark Simmons has run well so far and has had a top 15 finish in the team's last meet.
"I think the team can do anything as long as we work for it. With coach's guidance I've been able to improve my running capabilities significantly over the past three years," said Simmons
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Middle Park's home meet is more unique and more difficult than most. Other than the race being held at an elevation higher than 8,000 feet, the course at Snow Mountain Ranch also features over a mile of single-track course. Middle Park's meet is the only high school cross country meet in the state to have this type of course.
It is imperative of the athletes to be trained and well prepared for these rough and mountainous trail conditions. These athletes are few of many that are willing to maintain a love for running despite the large amount of effort it takes for them to achieve success. On average the team runs anywhere from 13 to 16 miles during a week of practice alone.
"We're putting in the time, hopefully we get rewarded ," Junior Logan Miyauchi said.
Middle Park's home meet will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Snow Mountain Ranch. The middle school race will take place beginning at 9 a.m. and the high school races will immediately follow. Varsity boys are set to start around 10:30 a.m. and varsity girls will start around 11:45 a.m.
Immediately following the awards, there will be a fun run open to the public for anyone who wants to join in. Middle Park will also be hosting the League meet during Homecoming Week on Saturday, Oct. 4.