Steamboat runners stride to national title
Full disclosure: There weren’t a lot of teams or a lot of athletes.
That’s not likely to do much to stop a group of young Steamboat Springs athletes from calling themselves national champions, however.
Five Steamboat runners, key pieces of Steamboat Springs High School’s suddenly strong cross country and track and field programs, banded together to compete as a team Saturday in the inaugural National High School Trail Running National Championships.
They may not have had a lot of competition — about 40 runners in the girls division and a handful of teams — but they ran strong races all the same and came away as the top girls squad, thus winning the first high school trail running national title.
“It wasn’t a big field, but it was a deep field, some really stellar athletes, so those who came, they were there to race and race hard,” said Lisa Renee Tumminello, cross country and track coach at the high school.
The group tackled the 5-mile course, mostly singletrack and near Salida, despite persistent rain overnight and throughout the event.
Maggi Congdon, heading into her sophomore season with the high school, led Steamboat’s contingent, placing fifth. Winter Boese, set to be a junior, was seventh. Isabelle Boniface, also a rising junior, was eighth. Sadie Cotton, heading into her senior year, was 11th. Sierra Harrison, a rising sophomore, was 18th.
Sumner Cotton, who will be a freshman in the fall, also competed in the race on the boys side. He placed 12th.
Participation in the event actually came from two fronts. Tumminello and the other Sailors’ coaches had the race in mind. At the same time, the athletes, themselves, had built their own interest.
They’ve kept up their training this summer with plenty of work and several stops to compete in local races. Boese, for instance, won the 10-kilometer race at the Mountain Madness half-marathon event earlier this month. Congdon was third in that race and Boniface fourth.
Boniface was then eighth in the Hahn’s Peak Hill Climb race, Congdon 10th and Boese 14th.
“The ladies really took the initiative to get themselves entered then keep themselves primed for the race,” Tumminello said. “They were really excited about going, had a great time and it will be fun next year, too.”
The team kicks into gear officially beginning training for its cross country season in about two weeks, Aug. 14.
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