Looking Ahead: Steamboat cross country runners head to Stanford Invite | SteamboatToday.com

Looking Ahead: Steamboat cross country runners head to Stanford Invite

Junior Maggi Congdon, left, and seniors Isabelle Boniface, middle, and Winter Boese, right, will travel to the Stanford Invitational in Stanford, California, Saturday, Sept. 29. (Photo by Leah Vann)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — While most would be excited about a trip to California for its beaches, movie stars or big cities,  Steamboat Springs High School cross country runners are just excited to run where there’s more oxygen. 

Sailors seniors Winter Boese and Isabelle Boniface, along with junior Maggi Congdon, have packed their bags for the 44th Stanford Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29.

“Just seeing how fast I can go at sea level,” Boniface said. “It’s great experience since I am a senior, going into college and this meet is at a college. It’s like what a college meet is going to be like.”

Head coach Lisa Renee Tumminello likes to give her top runners the opportunity to run faster races at sea level, which is why she took Congdon and Boese to the Nike Cross Invitational in Arizona last year.

Steamboat cross-country

Sept. 1: Battle Mountain
Sept. 8: Heritage
Sept. 15: Eagle Valley
Sept. 25: Soroco
Sept. 29: Moffat County
Oct. 5: Delta
Oct. 11: Rifle
Oct. 19: Regionals at Battle Mountain
Oct. 27: State in Colorado Springs

But this year, Tumminello’s sister, Alicia Vargo, a Stanford-alum, suggested the girls travel somewhere cooler.

“This one would be better for us, because it wouldn’t be as hot, and Arizona is really hot,” Congdon said. “And last year when I raced at the race there, I just totally died.”

It worked out perfectly. The girls will be staying at Boese’s grandparents near Stanford, traveling with assistant coach Kelly Boniface.

In order to compete at the Stanford Invitational, Tumminello had to send in each runner’s personal best times for approval.

Boese and Isabelle Boniface will run in the Division 4 high school girls race, and Congdon will run in a high school-seeded race, which boasts some of the nation’s top competitors.

With staggered starts, the high school competitors are bound to see collegiate runners on their path, which adds a special element to competing on a national stage.

“They also have an amazing track and field invitational in the spring,” Tumminello said. “I’d like to take some athletes out there, where they’re in the mix of Olympians out there trying to get their A-standard times.”

Added competition is something that has fueled runners like Congdon and Boniface to PR this season. Both ran their best times by 50 seconds at the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational in Littleton — Congdon at 18:32 and Boniface at 19:56.

“It was kind of funny,” Congdon said. “We’ve been training together all summer, and we both ran 50 seconds faster at that race. That was the coolest thing was to see our improvement from last season to this season.”

Boniface believes a national stage will motivate her to run even faster. By this time next year, she hopes to be running in a collegiate jersey.

“I feel like I thrive under that pressure and more competition,” Boniface said.

Boese also hopes to run in college but hasn’t seen as much success this season after a summer off her feet.

“I had a stress reaction in my shin and couldn’t run for over two months,” Boese said. “I go home and spend an absurd amount of time stretching, rolling out, core work to try to put my body back together after running every single day.”

But she anticipates a fast race, joking that she’ll be able to actually breathe at sea level. The pressure means something different to her, though.

“I’m kind of nervous, because it’s pretty important that I get a fast time,” Boese said. “We don’t get many opportunities at elevation and the hard courses we do. It’s exciting to have that opportunity.”

Along with the race, all three girls will enjoy college tours of the University of San Francisco, the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford. Boniface crosses her fingers and said maybe, just maybe, they’ll get to go to the Oregon vs. Berkeley college football game on Saturday night.

“I have never been to California, other than landing in LAX and walking to a connecting flight,” Boniface said.

But this Saturday, she’ll get to run there.

Prep Preview:

  • Soroco volleyball (6-7, 2-3)
    vs. Plateau Valley (5-4, 3-3), 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28
    vs. Hayden (5-7, 1-5), 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29
    The Rams are looking to turn things around with this week’s competition after a 1-2 performance at the Simla Tournament and a loss to North Park (3-7, 2-7). Plateau Valley sits just two spots above the Rams in the 1A/2A Western Slope League at No. 7 and Hayden ranks as second to last in the league at No. 12.
  • Hayden volleyball (5-7, 1-5)
    vs. De Beque (11-0,6-0), 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28
    at Soroco (6-7, 2-3), 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29
    The Tigers host a tough opponent for their homecoming game on Friday night. De Beque ranks as No. 2 in the league standings and No. 12 overall in the Class 1A RPI rankings while the Tigers are second to last in the league. Hayden will have a quick turnaround on Saturday as it travels to Oak Creek for revenge over its rival, Soroco. The Rams defeated the Tigers, 3-2, in their last meeting on Aug. 28.
  • Soroco football (4-0, 1-0)
    vs. Plateau Valley (1-4,1-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 
    The Rams hold the spot at No. 16 in the RPI standings and No. 1 in the A-8 Northwest 8-man football league standings. The Rams are highly productive on offense, averaging 537.4 all-purpose yards per game behind leading rusher Jace Logan. The Cowboys have struggled on that front, averaging 263.4 all-purpose yards per game and its only win over Hayden last week, 20-14. In three of its last four games, the Rams have eclipsed over 60 points, defeating opponents by a margin of 40 or more points in three of their four games.
  • Hayden football (2-2,1-1) *Homecoming*
    vs. Vail Christian (2-2, 0-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28
    The Tigers will take on a team similar to their own, both low on the defensive spectrum but with strong runners in the backfield. Junior Jamison Lee of the Saints leads the team with 118 yards per game while senior Tiger Daylen Frentress averages 158. The Saints boast a more productive passing front with 89 yards per game to the Tigers’ 28.3, which allows a more versatile offense. Both teams are coming off losses in the previous week.
  • Steamboat XC
    at Moffat County, TBA, Saturday, Sept. 29
    While three of Steamboat’s top female runners travel to California, a good number will still compete in Craig on Saturday. Sidney Barbier and other Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes that could not participate earlier in the week will represent the girls side. Sumner Cotton, Kieran Hahn and Cooper Jones, the top three male runners, will race for the boys.
  • Steamboat boys tennis
    vs. Kent Denver, 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29
    The Sailors are hoping to continue their success against another tough Class 4A opponent in Kent Denver at home on Saturday. Freshman Andy Schuiling has yet to lose a 4A match, and the Sailors are coming off a 6-1 victory over Vail Mountain, a team that they will meet in regional competition on Oct. 4 and 5 at Cheyenne Mountain.
  • Steamboat boys soccer (6-2-1, 4-2-1)
    at Palisade (3-5-1, 1-5), 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29
    The Sailors are entering the second half of their league play schedule, meeting the Bulldogs on their home turf. The Sailors defeated the Bulldogs, 11-1, in their previous matchup on Sept. 1. After a deflating loss to Glenwood Springs at home, 4-3, on Tuesday, Sept. 25, Steamboat Springs looks for a confidence boost. The team is led by senior Murphy Bohlmann with 13 goals so far this season, with senior Quinn Connell and junior Daniel Lopez with six goals each.
  • Steamboat boys golf
    at State Tournament, Monday, Oct. 1 and Tuesday, Oct. 2
    The Steamboat Springs boys golf team will travel to Colorado Springs for the state tournament at Flying Horse Country Club. The Sailors take four competitors this year — seniors  Jack Rotermund and Colton Sankey, junior Tommy Henninger and sophomore Ollie Rotermund.
  • Steamboat volleyball (8-6, 4-1)
    at Eagle Valley(7-3, 2-2), 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4
    After upsetting Battle Mountain, the Sailors move to No. 1 in the class 4A Western Slope League heading into next Thursday’s matchup with Eagle Valley. Steamboat lost its last matchup to the Devils at home in five sets and will now face the challenge of playing them on the road.
  • Steamboat football
    at Palisade, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4
    After defeating Hotchkiss on its new home turf, the Sailors will enjoy a bye week before traveling to Palisade.

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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