‘West Slope, best slope’: Soroco girls take 13th at cross country state championships
COLORADO SPRINGS — The Soroco High School girls cross country team qualified for the Colorado High School Activities Association state cross country championships as a team, meaning six runners competed in Colorado Springs for the Rams. However, during warmups, there were seven pairs of legs striding out from the start line, rather than six. The Rams had “adopted” solo Rangely runner Mary Scoggins and incorporated her into the team for the time being.
“She’s our teammate,” said Soroco senior Kaydence Bruner.
“West Slope, best slope,” added senior Eden Mayer. “So, we try to invite all the West Slope runners.”
With one extra “teammate” Saturday, Oct. 30, the Rams got into a positive mindset ahead of a challenging race and finished 13th as a team. Scoggins, who earned 13th, appreciated being included. Being surrounded by familiar faces helped her prepare.
“I get super nervous for races,” Scoggins said. “I did stride outs with the Soroco girls, and we prayed together. It helped me calm my nerves a lot. I’m so thankful to have them.”
Not only were the Rams battling a hilly course, but they were doing in so in 70-degree weather. Temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s are usually comfortable, but after running in the cold all week, it was jarring.
Bruner said there was really no way to prepare for the major temperature differential.
Sophomore Larhae Whaley and sophomore Lexi Vandenburg both spend the previous week at a Future Farmers of America event in Indiana, so they were training at lower altitude before the state meet. Whaley finished 52nd overall, the fastest Ram on Saturday. It was her first time at state cross country championships, although she’s experienced the state wrestling and state track and field championships before.
“I wanted to maintain being in the front, and I don’t know. … For a lot of us, (the goal) was just to finish, just knowing how hilly this course, and also it’s hot. Really hot,” Whaley said. “These past couple weeks, we’ve been running in 40-degree weather. Finishing was the biggest goal.”
Despite all the challenges, head coach Kim Kuda thinks her team performed well.
“I think we did a great job,” Kuda said. “I think everybody really put their heart and soul into it and ran the best race they could have on this challenging cross country coach.”
Meanwhile, it was Mayer’s final time at the state meet. She qualified two years ago in 2019, when the girls team finished 10th. She was happy to have her friends and teammates by her side for her final state race.
“For our senior year, it was pretty cool,” Mayer said. “It was a good way to go out as seniors, for sure.”
Team scores: 1. Lake County 48. 2. Colorado Springs Christian 69. 3. Buena Vista 77. 4. Heritage Christian 127. 5. Lyons 131. 13. Soroco 227.
Individual top 5: 1. Nadhia Campos, Vanguard, 18:47.5. 2. Zaila Smith, Buena Vista, 19:20.4. 3. Elle Stevens, Colorado Springs Christian, 19:55.8. 4. Quin Gregg, Lyons, 20:04.2. 5. Eliana Caucutt, Golden View, 20:05.2.
Area finishers: 52. Larhae Whaley 23:34.9. 66. Kaydence Bruner 24:14.4. 78. Lexi Vandenburg 24:39.3. 80. Trinity Delto 24:41.9. 82. Eden Mayer 24:46.7. 94. Alyvia Cox 25:28.5.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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