Middle Park hosts cross country meet on tough course
Sky-Hi News intern
It was a great weekend to run in Grand County. The changing leaves and various fall colors provided a jaw-dropping backdrop for Middle Park’s first home cross country meet on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Snow Mountain Ranch.
Middle Park runners and West Grand runners had a fantastic showing in this challenging and difficult race. The middle school runners from both sides of the county also had great results in their races.
The top finisher of the meet for the girls was West Grand’s own Tabor Scholl (a senior) who beat the second place finisher by well over a minute. And it was Middle Park’s Mark Simmons (a junior) who came in with an impressive second place overall finish for the boys behind a tough runner from the Front Range.
Other top finishes went to Middle Park runners, junior Logan Miyauchi, who placed 11th, and freshman Sierra Smith, who finished 28th.
Middle Park coach Scott Hicks spoke highly of his team’s performance.
“I thought we ran really well and we looked strong against some of our league opponents. It was a tough first mile with a lot of climbing, and we were able to keep well under goal pace,” Coach Hicks said.
The Middle Park boys team placed fourth overall amongst the six teams. The Panthers are hoping that next season’s race will bring in at least 10 teams to the mountains, hopefully more from the from the Denver area.
“We were able to establish ourselves against some high caliber teams and we hope to do it again,” said Coach Hicks
Hicks also said he thought West Grand had a great showing at Saturday’s race. This is the first year West Grand High School has had a cross country team, and they proved that they can be a force to be reckoned with.
The course itself was quite difficult and challenged all of the competitors. Other than the trying mountain elevation, the 5K run entailed multiple natural hurdles and obstacles that caused many runners to steady their pace a bit more than originally planned.
“The course had lots of slow terrain and was mostly climbing. Tree stumps, roots, and rocks were all huge time-slowing factors. At one point we ran nearly 100 meters through nothing but mud,” said Middle Park Senior Chris Cicarelli.
Middle Park’s next meet will take place on Saturday, Sept. 27, in Salida. This meet is one of the larger meets that Middle Park will attend. The Panthers will have two more meets during Homecoming next week, including their league meet that they host at Snow Mountain Ranch on Saturday, Oct. 4.
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For the oldest members of the Middle Park High School girls soccer squad, it’s been a spring they won’t ever forget.