“I think they’ll be surprising”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans cross country team had a solid season last year with the boys taking fifth place at regionals and the girls team, led by seniors Sydney Petersen and Maria O’Neal, taking fifth place at the state championships.
This year, the 20th year for the program, will prove to be a rebuilding year for the girls with the loss of Petersen, O’Neal and Sierra D’Aquila to graduation, but the boys team is on the cusp of becoming a solid squad throughout the 2018 season.
Veteran coaches Shari Sullivan-Marshall and Laura Daniels will be sharing the head coaching position this year and have called on Vince Rogers as an assistant to help with the 10 intrepid runners. Rogers is a second-year math teacher with a passion for running to help spur the Titans through workouts.
“He is an avid runner, has an excitement for it and has a connection with the kids because he is also a teacher,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “This year we are predominantly underclassmen so it’s good to have another body.”
Pre-season has been all about mileage and teamwork, as the team started workouts on August 13 and finished with a team hike to Scarp Ridge.
“We’ve been getting in base miles working on team building and getting the younger kids used to the routine,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “We’re relying on the seniors helping to establish the routine.”
Seniors Joe Coburn and Max Faust are the captains, bringing veteran leadership to the program of young runners.
“Both come with great experience so they’ll be leading the charge,” says Sullivan-Marshall.
Six other boys will join them on their side of the team with a host of fledgling underclassmen in place to attack the field at races.
“We have a great group of returning 10th graders,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “I think they’ll be surprising.”
The girls team is limited with two runners this year, one a 10th grader and another a ninth grader.
“We’re hoping another runner shows up,” says Sullivan-Marshall.
The season opens on September 1 with a race in Leadville and Sullivan-Marshall is looking to have the team at full strength for the race in Gunnison on Saturday, September 15.
“The first two meets will be good for the underclassmen and then we will be full-force by Gunnison,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “We usually do pretty well there.”