Gearing for regionals |

Gearing for regionals

Sailors cross country team in final leg of training for postseason meet

— With just three days left until the biggest meet of the season, Sailors cross country coach John Smith is banking that his decision to keep the team home last week during a regular-season meet is going to pay off.

“Instead of making a three-hour drive and then running in the snow and cold, we decided to stay here and run time trials,” Smith said.

The coach said the fact that several of his runners were already sick and that many others would miss the meet to take SATs also weighed in the team’s decision.

“The team captains got together with the rest of the runners and they made the decision,” Smith said.

“We just felt like it was more important to stay home and get healthy.”

Instead, the runners hit the pavement along river road for time trials and, according to Smith, posted some of the fastest times of the year.

It was an important training session as the Sailors continue building toward this weekend’s regional meet at Delta’s Confluence Park.

The meet should begin at 1 p.m. and will determine which runners advance to the state meet.

The top-four teams and top-10 individuals who are not on a state qualifying team will earn a berth to the state meet, which will be held at Kent Denver Oct. 27.

Smith has named eight boys and nine girls as prospects for this year’s regional teams.

He will not, however, make a decision on the final seven boys and seven girls runners until Friday night in Delta.

“It’s going to be a tough choice and I want to make sure that I keep all of our top runners motivated this week,” Smith said.

The boys in the running for the final cut are Daniel Ward, Ben MacCarthy, Nathan Proper, Tyler O’Leary, Eddie VanBaak, Mike Gleason, David Manthei and Hennie Kashawa.

On the girls’ side, those in the running are Jennifer Hooper, Tara Wernig, Julie Wernig, Tess Hottenroth, Lauren Lightfoot, Laura Phillip, Emily Hines and Lindsay Stanford.

Smith expects qualifying for this year’s state tournament to be difficult.

He says Moffat County looks to be a strong contender for the girls’ title.

He also expects Glenwood and Montrose to be in the running.

On the boys’ side, the same teams Moffat County, Glenwood Springs and Montrose will also be tough.

Smith is hoping to qualify both his girls’ and boys’ teams with a top-four finish.

Last year, both Sailors squads made the cut and competed at Kent Denver.

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