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Crowning Achievement

Boys cap off uncertain season with top 20 finish

Melinda Mawdsley

The Steamboat Springs cross-country team had a lot of princesses this season. Some dressed in flowing pink dresses. Others wore tu-tus. Some even had magic wands, but the crowning moment for the members of the Steamboat boys team came at the finish line of the Class 4A state cross-country meet Saturday in Colorado Springs.

After an offseason of uncertainty surrounding the coach and who would be on the team, the boys placed 17th on Saturday in a field regarded by many as the state’s best this season.

“I was surprised with how well we did this year,” senior Mike Gleason said.

The team adopted the theme of princesses this season, and everyone enjoyed dressing the part. Well, everyone but Matt Hill. He doesn’t enjoy dressing up. The team went out to eat as princesses. The runners drove places as princesses, but there was nothing princess-like about how Steamboat performed Saturday.

After some pushing and shoving and falling down, the boys were forced to restart, but the initial start gave the thousands lining the course a preview of what to expect. Led by D’Evelyn’s John McGuire, Denver South’s Mohamud Ige and Aden Ahmed, and Palisade’s Glen Randall, the boys sprinted toward the first turn only to be waved back by race officials. Gleason was near the front of the pack and didn’t realize what was going on.

“All I heard was yelling,” he said.

When the race restarted, a swarm of 182 runners funneled toward a sharp turn. There, the Steamboat boys said, the race became as much about positioning as conditioning.

“It was so hard to move around,” Gleason said.

McGuire won in 15 minutes, 5 seconds on the 5,000-meter course set up at the Vineyard Golf Course and the El Pomar Sports Complex near Harrison High School.

Gleason was the top finisher for the Sailors in 17:33 (77th). Sam Tarrant was next in 17:47 (100th); Kieran Corrigan finished in 17:52 (106th); Andy Garber finished in 17:55 (110th); Matt Hill finished in 18:09 (126th); Marty Smith ran the course in 18:28 (142nd) and Justin Krause finished in 20:57 (179th).

The Steamboat boys scored 519 points to finish 17th overall, and they defeated Montrose, a team that beat them at last weekend’s regionals.

Moffat County was the top Western Slope team in seventh place with 289 points. Denver South won easily, scoring 60 points behind four top 20 finishes.

The boys spent most of the season running in a pack at all the meets, pushing each other in competition and practice. Considering many didn’t do much preseason work, Steamboat was proud it had qualified for the state meet.

“The rush is just being here,” Corrigan said.

Garber, Gleason and Krause are the graduating seniors for the Steamboat team.

In Class 3A, Tim Hilt of The Classical Academy won in 16:11. In Class 5A, Steven Weeks of Arvada won in 15:33.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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