Runners prepare for state title race |

Runners prepare for state title race

— Steamboat Springs High School cross country coach Erik Ramstad isn’t entirely sure what to expect when his team travels this weekend to the state championship cross country meet in Colorado Springs.

He said his Sailors’ girls team, competing at the Norris Penrose Events Center, is definitely one of the top dozen teams competing. Just where they’ll slot in when the race ends: That’s what he’s not sure of.

“It’s going to be a really exciting race,” he said. “Every team is really close this year, and there are some amazing teams out there. It’s just really competitive, so we’re excited to get out there, be the best versions of ourselves we can be and see how we do.”

The Sailors will send seven girls to the meet. Soroco, meanwhile, will send two runners, one boy and one girl.

For the Rams, sophomore Ben Kelley will lead the way on the boys side. He placed 21st at state a year ago, finishing the 5-kilometer course in 19:01. He’s consistently been in the top 10 and even the top 5 at races this season, so he’d love to move up in the big one.

Freshman Chloe Veilleux, third at regionals, will be getting her first taste of the state meet and could also factor in high in the final standings.

The Sailors, meanwhile, will rely on four savvy state meet veterans. Sophomore Tatum Burger has been the team’s top scorer all season, and she’s back after finishing 17th at state last year.

Kathleen O’Connell was 47th, Alex Tumminello 48th and Abigail Miller 61st.

They’ll be joined by a senior, Samantha Terranova, out for the sport for the first time this season, and two freshman, Isabelle Boniface and Winter Boese.

“We’ve had such a great group this season,” Ramstad said. “It’s been a fantastic group, and so many of our runners had fantastic seasons.”

The team placed ninth last season. Can it do better this go around? Ramstad said fans will just have to wait and see.

“It’s going to be such a close race,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing them perform.”

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