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Cross country puts final touches on post-season preparations

Head to regionals on Friday

by Than Acuff

It all comes to a head in the next two weeks for the Titans cross country team. All of the workouts, the miles, the strength and intervals that started back in August will be put to the test on Friday, October 23 at the regional meet in Delta and then again at the state meet on Saturday, October 31.

The Titans closed out the regular season of competition on Saturday, October 17 at the Montrose Relays. It’s an annual event for the Titans and the race is unique in that runners from teams pair up with a teammate in a relay format. Each runner will alternate with their teammate to run three one-mile splits. And while there are plenty of “official” races throughout the state for the Titans to jump into, they always close out the regular season in Montrose for a couple of reasons.

“The Montrose Relays is a really good prep for regionals—it’s basically like running mile repeats and there’s tough competition so the kids push themselves more than they would in a practice,” says coach Austin Ross. “It’s also fun, so it’s a good change of pace.”

Due to the race format, coaches and runners can get mile split times over the course of the race and gain additional insight into how the athletes may adjust their race style as they head into the post-season.

“I’m looking for consistency in the three laps they run,” explains Ross. “It helps them with race strategy. If they’re slower in the second and third miles, maybe they’re going out too hard.”

With October break rearing its ugly head, the cross country team numbers were down but Ross did manage to put together three teams of two runners each for the event.

The biggest challenge for the cross country team proved to be the trip over as vehicle issues had the coach and team scrambling to get to the race. As a result, the Titans had to warm up for the race, during the race.

“It took about 20 to 30 minutes out of our schedule that we could have used,” says Ross.

Aiden and Conrad Truettner teamed up in the boys’ race and after a tough “warm up” during the opening mile for each of them, they rallied to close down on their opponents and finish the day in second place.

“After the first legs they had a little bit of room to make up,” says Ross. “They ran a really solid race.”

Charles Behrens and Storey Crossett were the other Titan boys’ team at the race and due to the mass start of all teams, their final result got lost in the mix.

Sydney Petersen and Sam Crossett teamed up for the girls’ race. The two make for a potent mix with Sam’s consistency and Petersen’s grit, making for a solid showing taking second place.

“Their split times were really consistent and they definitely ran their style of race,” says Ross.

The Titans will now settle into their post-season preparations this week before they head to Delta on Friday.

“This week we really start to taper and prep so we are quick at regionals,” says Ross.

The top three teams from both the girls’ and boys’ regional races qualify for the state championships. While Ross is confident in the boys’ team chances, the girls’ team will have their hands full.

“If the boys run as well as they are capable of, they should make it,” says Ross. “Our region is really tough for the girls so we will see how it all shakes out.”

While the girls’ team may not make it, he does believe there will be some individuals that will make the cut on their own.

“I think Sydney and Sam have a good chance and Tara has a shot at it as well,” says Ross.

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