Congdon completes Steamboat Springs High School cross country career
COLORADO SPRINGS — Just in front of the 3-mile marker, the Colorado state cross country course takes runners up a short but steep hill. It may only be 20 feet in length, but at that point of the race, it’s 20 feet of torture.
“It’s kind of a gut punch right there,” Steamboat Springs High School runner Maggi Congdon said. “It’s good though, because it really makes me focus on my form at the end.”
Once she reached the top, she stretched out her strides and turned the corner to the finish line. Congdon crossed the line in 38th place with a time of 19 minutes, 54 seconds on Saturday, Oct. 26, from the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
The Sailors senior said she started strong and felt good for a while, but said she struggled mentally later on.
“It wasn’t quite the race I wanted,” she said. “But I’m still happy that I’m even here.”
When Congdon crossed the finish line, it was the last time she would do so in high school cross country competition. She stuck around a while at the finish area, greeting friends from other teams that she’s run against for four years. She made her way to the edge and greeted the Steamboat Springs head coach Lisa Renee Tumminello, who spoke softly to her before the two shared an emotional embrace.
“I reminded Maggi that she has two world championships bookending her season,” Tumminello said. “And, in the middle of it, she kind of took a couple weeks off because of a hamstring. It can look all different ways in the middle of the season when you build from world championship to world championship. That’s so important for her to have the perspective because she’s an amazing competitor.”
This past summer, Congdon helped the USA Track and Field U18 girls Mountain Running Team secure a third-place finish at the Youth Mountain Running Cup in Italy.
In November, she will travel to Argentina to compete with the USA Track and Field U18 Girls Mountain Running Team. Later in the month, she will compete in the Footlocker cross country Midwest Regional in Wisconsin.
“It’s crazy. It doesn’t really feel real,” she said of her days as a cross country runner ending. “Luckily, I have a couple more races. It’s been a crazy ride, but I’m so grateful for everything.”
On the boys side, junior Jaydon Fryer was the sole representative of the Sailors on the massive start line. Tackling the crowd of the start line was a new experience for both Congdon and Fryer
“The culture of our program is based on, ‘We race for each other. We race for our team,’” Tumminello said. “Then all of a sudden to switch gears after regionals and say, ‘Now you’re racing for yourself.’ These two especially, they’re selfless athletes. They thrive in a team, they’re captains. I think that probably mentally took some shifting.”
In fact, everything about the day was new to Fryer, who ran cross country this year after playing soccer last year. At his first state appearance, Fryer finished 45th with a time of 17:12 flat. He edged out four other runners that finished in 17:12 and change.
“I came up the hill and I knew that this was it, last race of the season,” Fryer said. “I needed to dig deep and go for it. There were a lot of people coming in at the same time. I passed one kid, which I was pretty proud of.”
Colorado High School State Cross Country Championships
4A girls results
Girls top five team scores: 1. Niwot 37. 2. Battle Mountain 71. 3. Air Academy 117. 4. Durango 147. 5. Palmer Ridge 156.
Individual top five: 1. Samrawit Dishon, Niwot, 18:11.9. 2. Samantha Blair, Eagle Valley, 18:15.1. 3. Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley, 18:27.9. 4. Madeleine Burns, Durango, 18:33.6. 5. Ella Johnson, Glenwood Springs, 18:37.4.
Steamboat finishers: 38. Maggi Congdon 19:54.
4A boys results
Boys top five team scores: 1. Niwot 70. 2. Durango 119. 3. Cheyenne Mountain 156. 3. Air Academy 162. 5. Palmer Ridge 185.
Individual top five: 1. Cruz Culpepper, Niwot, 15:36.1. 2. Dylan Schubert, Thompson Valley, 15:48.5. 3. Erik LeRoux, Cheyenne Mountain, 15:50.3. 4. Luke Tichi, Durango, 15:53. 5. Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos, Green Mountain, 15:54.1.
Steamboat finishers: 45. Jaydon Fryer 17:12.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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