Sailors cross-country team hopes to qualify at Aspen meet today |

Sailors cross-country team hopes to qualify at Aspen meet today

— Anxious and confident is the way Steamboat Springs High School cross-country coach Andy Reust described his team on the eve of the season’s most important meet.

His squad will race today in the regional cross-country meet in Aspen, butting heads with 10 schools in an attempt to earn a spot at next week’s state cross-country meet in Fort Collins.

“They’ve been doing the work, and now they’re pretty confident they can do what’s expected of them,” Reust said. “They can all rise to the occasion.”

To advance to the state meet, hosted by Fossil Ridge High School, Steamboat’s runners must unleash some of their top performances of the season.

Four of the 11 teams at today’s regional will advance, as will the top 15 runners in both the boys and girls races.

The Sailors have crossed a little more than half of the teams they’ll square off against. Judging by what he’s seen from the teams Steamboat has competed against and the times other schools have posted, Reust is convinced that Steamboat has a chance.

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The squad will race with a full boys team. Gus Allen, a senior wrapping up his first cross-country campaign since his freshman year, has emerged as one of the team’s fastest threats, usually near the front along with Asher Rohde and Scott Powers. Jack Burger will join the team for only the third time this season after he competed last weekend for Steamboat in the state tennis tournament. Jeff Sperry, Hunter Thompson and Byron Brane have given the team depth.

Steamboat also will have two girls entered, Cassady Daley and Katherine Lynch.

“They’ve all had some very good races,” Reust said. “We’ve been telling them all along that every meet is practice until this one. Now they know this is the one where they either make it or their season is over.”

They will tear across the Aspen Golf Course, a different venue than the team saw in a trip to Aspen earlier this month.

“We haven’t seen it, but it’s probably like Haymaker without any substantial uphill climbing, maybe with some rolling or gradual hills,” Reust said. “It will be slower because it will be all grass, but times don’t matter anymore. Only the place does.”