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Cross country wraps up season at state championships

“We will continue to build on the success we had this year”

by Than Acuff

It can be a daunting task for any high school cross-country runner. After spending the season running in a variety of races throughout the state against a variety of opponents from both bigger and smaller programs, it all comes down to the state championships.

But first you have to get there and at the conclusion of the regular season and the regional race, the Crested Butte Titans had seven runners make the cut for the state race in Colorado Springs last weekend, including the entire boys team.

That, in and of itself, was an accomplishment.

To make sure they were prepared for the challenge ahead of them, coach Austin Ross designed the pre-race workouts accordingly.

“The week was based around feeling good. We’d done all the work we needed to do,” says Ross. “It was more about making sure everyone was as fresh as could be. And I think, in the end, the workouts were focused and pretty effective.”

With such a huge field of runners all ready to have their best race of the season, Ross kept his pre-race strategy for the Titans fairly straightforward.

“I told them to have fun, enjoy being in the state championships and give everything you have,” says Ross. “It’s going to be a hot pace at the start so try to keep up with that pace and hold on for dear life.”

Aiden Truettner was lining up for his third and final high school cross-country race and knew the final one would be the toughest. After placing sixth at regionals, his goal to crack top 10 at the state race would be tough, but he was ready.

“Aiden was prepared for a fight after not making the podium at regionals,” says Ross.

As the race progressed he did find it would take everything he had to hit the top 10 and Truettner followed through with his pre-race goal, finishing the day in 10th place.

“I think it was a successful race,” says Ross. “He really had to fight for it and he was proud that he was able to.”

Hunter Wright would have his first of what could be many state championship experiences, coming into the big show as a freshman.

Wright was in the midst of the huge field of runners and ended his first race at state in 53rd place, sixth among the freshmen there.

“I thought he ran a respectable race,” says Ross.

Ross credits the race of the day for the Titans to Vincent Michel. While Michel’s 70th place may not impress, Ross saw him run the best race of his career so far.

“He had a really strong race that day,” says Ross. “It was a bit of a breakthrough for him.”

Conrad Truettner was next in line for the Titans, placing 74th, Benjamin Swift finished in 86th and Joe Coburn placed 91st to round out the team’s 13th-place finish overall.

“I think 13th was a good showing. I wouldn’t have put higher expectations on any of them,” says Ross. Everybody ran good races and the fact that we placed as a team and got there as a team is great. I’m proud of it.”

Sam Crossett and Sydney Petersen carried the Titans’ colors in the girls’ race. It was a tale of two different experiences for Crossett and Petersen as Crossett was making her third and final state appearance and Petersen her first. In the end they finished together, with Crossett crossing in 22nd place and Petersen in 23rd place.

“Tactically they ran really well and really pushed themselves,” says Ross.

Looking back on the season, Ross looks forward to the future.

“It was a season of improvement and a culmination of a lot of years of hard work for the seniors,” says Ross. “It was also a year of passing the torch, as next year our juniors will be the leaders of the team and we will continue to build on the success we had this year.”

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