Soroco senior finishes in top 20 at state cross country championships
COLORADO SPRINGS — When a heart is torn between elation and sadness, it tends to settle into a state of melancholy.
That’s where Soroco High School senior Alex Colby seemed to be hovering as he sat in the grass following the 2A boys cross country championships at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. Then again, he could have just been exhausted.
Colby had an incredible race, finishing 16th in 18 minutes and 25 seconds, so he was proud. But at the same time, he had wanted a top-10 finish. Adding to his emotional maelstrom, the race was the last of his cross country career.
Still, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I was going for top 10, that was always my goal, but I can’t be disappointed, that’s for sure,” he said.
Thanks to a phenomenal season, Colby was ranked high in the state and ran in the first wave of runners. That automatically secured him a top 25 finish, so long as he held steady with the group and the second wave stayed behind them.
Just ahead of the 1-mile mark, Colby sat in 20th.
“Part of me really wanted to sprint out with the top guys, but I kind of held myself back because people die on the second mile of this course really easy if they go out too fast,” he said. “I was a little bit controlled and just kept a pack in front of me.”
In the second mile, he knew he had to make his move. He passed about five people before the final stretch.
“After the first long hill, there’s a straightaway, and I told myself, ‘I’ve got to pass people here,’” Colby said. “They’re all out of breath from the hill. I think that’s where I picked off a lot of people.”
The day before the race, Colby and his head coach Matt Mayer ran the course and plotted where Mayer should place himself to best encourage Colby. They decided that Mayer would plant himself somewhere along the third mile where spectators hardly go.
“I was just telling him where he was, place-wise,” Mayer said. “He said way back out there in the trees is really quiet, so I was back out there to give him a blast. It’s hard because it’s so spread out. I only got to see him three times.”
Mayer counted the people ahead of Colby and yelled out what place the senior was in as he ran by. Time isn’t as important on the state course, since it’s hilly and tough.
The 2020 season was the first in a while that Colby wasn’t alone on the Soroco boys roster. He was surrounded by nearly a full squad as well as the Steamboat Springs team, which he’s close with. However, due to more difficult qualifying standards for the state championship, Colby was the only Routt County athlete to make the cut.
“By himself is a little hard,” said Colby’s mom, Jane. “His dream is to just have a team he can run with.”
Hopefully, Colby can continue to run in college and get the full team experience there. Colby loves the sport, saying it’s even better than track in his book. He said cross country has a different grit to it.
“It means a lot to him,” said Colby’s dad, Steve. “He played other sports and he discovered running in junior high, and I think he realized right off it was something for him, and he started to have a little success at it. It’s been very rewarding for him.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.