‘Of course we would come’: Steamboat Springs brings huge cheering section for two runners

Steamboat Springs High School senior Bowden Tumminello finished 52nd at the Colorado High School Activities Association Cross Country State Championships.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

COLORADO SPRINGS — As Steamboat Springs High School senior Bowden Tumminello was running, he saw Sailors everywhere. Tumminello was the only varsity Sailor runner to qualify for the Colorado High School Activities Association State Cross Country Championships, but about a dozen teammates made the drive to Colorado Springs and dashed around the course to cheer on their friend.

“They ran faster and more than me I think. There were groups of them back in no-man’s land. I even heard them coming into the stands. It is deafening, but I heard some Steamboat people,” Tumminello said. “It means everything to me. It just goes to show the spirit of this team. We had a ton of coaches and officials be like, ‘You’re the only one here. Why are all the other Steamboat kids here?’ It means everything to me. I had the best time last night with everybody, and I know this bus ride home is going to be amazing.”

With his friends and family cheering for him the entire way, Tumminello completed the course at the Norris Penrose Event Center in 17 minutes, 24 seconds, good for 52nd in a field of 157 4A boys.

The Sailors had multiple hotel rooms booked ahead of state in anticipation of the girls varsity team qualifying, but they fell short at regionals. With the rooms booked, head coach Lisa Renee Tumminello invited a handful of athletes, and every single one said they would rather spend their Saturday cheering on a friend than doing anything else.

“It shocked me; every single person we invited and had room for on the bus said yes. I think if we would have invited the whole team, they probably would go. And they have to pay their expenses to come. That’s just who they are.”

Seniors Caroline Baur and Courtney Vargas were excited to have an opportunity to extend their final cross country season.

“It’s such an honor to be invited here and to cheer on our best friend,” Baur said. “We’re so close; of course, we would come. We’re so proud of Bowden and Xavier, and we’re so excited to cheer them on.”

Toting red, white, black and silver signs, they shouted things like, “Eyes up,” “Get the man in front of you” and the simple but effective, “Go, Bowden.”

Some runners enter a void of white noise, breathing and pain while competing, but Tumminello hears the cheers.

“It’s always jacked me up,” Tumminello said. “It gives a shot of adrenaline knowing you have people there for you who you love, and they love you. That’s everything to me.”

The Sailors runners and fans also cheered on freshman Xavier Knott, who ran in the unified race. They held up signs at the start and around the shorter course before meeting him at the finish. In his first state cross country meet, Knott earned seventh in the unified race. Upon hearing his teammates at the finish line, Knott pumped his fists into the air.

“Cross country is such a loving sport,” Vargas said. “Having any support with you, for Bowden and Xavier. Knowing how hard it is to run a race, we want them to feel supported here.”

4A Boys Championship

Team scores: 1. Cheyenne Mountain 26. 2. Niwot 63. 3. Battle Mountain 136. 4. Palmer Ridge 144. 5. Mead 227.

Individual top 5: 1. Zane Bergen, N, 15:17.7. 2. Erik Le Roux, CM, 15:31. 3. Kaden Levings, CM, 15:34.5. 4. Knox Eaton, CM, 15:40.2. 5. Jackson Shorten, Mountain View, 15:44.3.

Area finishers: 52. Bowden Tumminello 17:24.6.

Unified results: 1. Charlie Kruger, Denver East, 10:50.2. 2. Jessie Thompson, Elizabeth, 11:07.9. 3. Eddie Sciacca, Fairview, 11:19. 7. Xavier Knott, SS, 15:57.9.

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