Pair of Steamboat runners set for state cross-country meet
Steamboat Springs — Jack Burger and Asher Rohde, the two Steamboat Springs High School cross-country athletes who qualified for this year’s state cross-country meet, said the season-ending meet takes a little getting used to.
“I remember my first time. I was so scared,” Rohde said Wednesday afternoon, preparing for one of the season’s final practices.
The good news for the Sailors duo is they have experience, and now they’re primed for what they hope will be their best results at the state meet.
The Class 4A state cross-country meet is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Arapahoe County Fairgrounds in Aurora. Burger, who’s making his fourth state start, and Rohde, making his third, have big plans.
“It’s going to be a fun race,” Rohde said.
Having experience at state counts for a number of reasons. First, they’ve seen the spectacle of the massive meet, from the hundreds of competitors who will toe the line to the mobs of fans that will line the course.
They know how easy it is to get swept away in all that.
“The anxiety and pressure of state is not as prevalent for this year,” Steamboat coach Andy Reust said. “Hopefully they can just go out and run the best they can.”
They most recently got the chance to run the state course earlier this season in a September “pre-state” meet.
It wasn’t the best day for the Sailors, Reust said, but it was valuable. The course starts with a sharp downhill section where Steamboat’s runners said they’ll jockey for positions in the front of the pack.
The trail also includes several long uphill stretches, however. Burger said he’s targeting a top-15 finish, and Rohde said he would be happy in the top 30. They’ll need to run the hills well to make that happen.
“When we ran it the first time, everyone went out really fast in the first mile,” Burger said. “Everyone’s out there running for places, and they get aggressive.”
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