Sailor XC steps away from competition to host 5K fundraiser |

Sailor XC steps away from competition to host 5K fundraiser

Austin Colbert

Pre-game 5K

What: A fundraiser for the SSHS cross country team

When: 5 p.m. Friday, before the football game

Where: The Steamboat Springs High School track

Cost: $10. When parents register, each additional child is only $1.

How: There is no pre-registration. Just show up ready to run.

— Is Friday’s pre-game 5K, a homecoming fundraiser put on by the Steamboat Springs High School cross country team, about fun? Or is this a serious competition?

It all depends on who you ask.

“I say it leans more to the fun side, but I think when the gun goes off, we’ll be charging forward,” said senior SSHS runner Kathleen O’Connell.

“I think it’s not super competitive,” fellow senior Alex Tumminello added, “because it’s fun and it’s homecoming week, and we are just out there to enjoy each other.”

Either way, the event is expected to be a good time. The race starts at 5 p.m. Friday on the high school track, prior to the SSHS football game vs. Delta, which starts at 7 p.m. Anyone can participate in the race for $10, with all proceeds going toward the cross country team. When a parent registers, each additional child is only $1.

“It’s a really cool atmosphere and environment, and it feels — and this year will be — incredibly busy and chaotic,” said SSHS cross country coach Erik Ramstad. “It’s just a great opportunity for the community to kind of see the cross country team in action.”

The Sailors don’t have any races in Steamboat, so Friday’s 5K will serve as a de facto home meet, of sorts. The 5K distance is the same as their official cross country races — about 3.1 miles — only Friday’s run will comprise 12.5 laps around a paved track.

There is no pre-registration, and anyone interested in running alongside the high school team needs only to show up prior to the 5 p.m. start. There is a 30-minute cap for runners in order to get the field ready for the football game, and volunteers will be on hand to help count laps.

“It’s a great opportunity before homecoming to just have everyone out there,” Ramstad said.

A break in the action

After three straight weeks of competition, the SSHS cross country team is using this week as a way to assess their season so far. While the boys’ team is still developing, the girls’ team has carried momentum from last year’s ninth-place finish at state into another strong fall.

“The guys are collective. We are together a lot, and we are holding our own,” said SSHS senior Ricky Brown. “The girls are outweighing us in speed, for sure, but we are having fun with it.”

Senior Peter Myller has led the boys’ team all season, his best performance coming at the Eagle Valley Invitational in Gypsum last weekend, where he took 35th in 18 minutes, 7 seconds. Brown, or junior Ethan Labriola, typically finish second.

The girls seem to be gaining momentum, fresh off a team win at Eagle Valley, in which sophomore Tatum Burger took first overall in 19:32. Burger has led the girls in each race, including an impressive fifth-place finish in the competitive Liberty Bell Invite in Littleton.

“A lot of the freshman girls are pretty fast, and that’s awesome, and we have Tatum Burger, who is charging forward pretty quickly,” O’Connell said. “I think going into regionals and looking forward to state, we got a good shot.”

Behind Burger, O’Connell and Tumminello have been mainstays for the Sailors, with fellow senior Abigail Miller providing a strong fourth. All four girls finished in the top 16 of the Eagle Valley Invite last weekend.

“The girls’ team is having some really big successes,” Tumminello said. “We still have a long ways to go. We need to work hard. We can’t let it get to our heads.”

The Sailors return to action Oct. 3, when they compete at Moffat County. The week after, they travel to Delta for a pre-regional meet, then finish the regular season schedule at Rifle on Oct. 15. Regionals take place Oct. 23, in Delta.

“I think when our large crowd of freshmen are seniors, we will have a really good team. They just need more race experience,” Myller said of the boys’ team. “The girls definitely have it in the bag to go to state.”

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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