Steamboat Springs races forward through humbling state experience
October 27, 2018
COLORADO SPRINGS — Placing at the top of a state cross country meet is no small feat, but that’s what the Steamboat Springs team expects every year.
“Everyone sees progress as linear, but it's more like this,” Steamboat Springs assistant coach Glenn Light says, drawing an up and down line in the air. “Put a line through the dots, it's linear — but it's not. Trying to process that and evaluate, if we're in a down moment, where do we need to make an adjustment?”
Coming off a year where they took home the Class 3A state title, the Sailors knew there was more to prove in Class 4A, but they were up for a challenge.
Steamboat Springs Class 4A cross country state championship results
1. Layla Roebke, Niwot, 18:29.3
2. Taylor James, Niwot, 18:35.4
3. Naomi Harding, Battle Mountain, 18:41.0
18. Winter Boese, Steamboat Springs, 19:29.5
26. Maggi Congdon, Steamboat Springs, 19:50.1
101. Isabelle Boniface, Steamboat Springs, 22:06.9
104. Katie Lake, Steamboat Springs, 22:10.6
108. Sidney Barbier, Steamboat Springs, 22:17.3
113. Emily Craig, Steamboat Springs, 22:40.4
130. Grace Drobek, Steamboat Springs, 23:28.6
They snuck in a fourth-place finish at Battle Mountain to qualify for state, but then, set their sights even higher.
Steamboat Springs High School junior Maggi Congdon, one of the Sailors’ top contenders, stayed with the front of the pack through the first mile before falling back. She finished in 26th place with a time of 19 minutes, 50.1 seconds.
“I just set really high goals for myself, so that's hard,” Congdon said. “I put the most pressure on myself. No one else really does. I just didn't have the race I wanted to. Makes me more fired up for next year.”
Congdon likes to start her races where she’ll finish them: at the front. Not being able to hold that position messed with her mental game. She’s not used to getting passed.
“For me, this year, it was definitely a learning experience,” junior Maggi Congdon said. “Coming from last year, we were in 3A — less people and we were more used to being farther after the pack.”
The competition was humbling and presented even more runners than expected, but senior Winter Boese put up the strongest fight of the Sailors, crashing towards the finish for 18th place with a time of 19:29.5.
As a senior, Boese only had one goal: to give the race everything she had, and all stood in awe of her performance.
“Winter specifically has the special ability to get the most out of herself every single time,” Light said. “I have never seen an athlete consistently perform like she does. And we've coached hundreds of kids.”
Boese’s vision blurred, and she was unable to form words. Her body ached to the point that it hurt to cry over it being her last race. Her teammates commended her passion.
Boniface, also a senior, grew emotional shortly after the race. Not because of how her time looked but because it was her last race in the Steamboat Springs uniform.
“The girls, this coaching staff, this team is something so special,” Boniface said. “Something so great, such a family. It took me in freshman year, and my high school experience would not have been the same without it. I wouldn't have met my best friend [Congdon].”
Also not pleased with her performance, Boniface brushes it off.
“State is so fun. It’s the coolest place to be.” Boniface said.
As team captain, Boniface’s comments seem to lighten the mood of the Sailors, who joke about that hill on the second mile and the fact they had to race at the end of the day for the second year in a row.
Head coach Lisa Renee Tumminello says that the emotional journey to even make it here may have taken all they had, but she says that one thing remains true.
“They just never stop racing,” Tumminello said. “We talk to our team about being championship racers. If you don't feel great in the moment, you race forward.”