“We are in a building year”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans cross country team is young and small in numbers but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to prove, and they are determined to make the most of the 2018 season.
“When they’re there, they’re all so positive and hard working,” says coach Laura Daniels. “They’re small but they keep it positive and it’s a really good experience.”
Part of the team opened the race season last weekend at the annual Lake County Invitational, the highest cross country meet in the nation, with the course sitting at over 10,000 feet elevation in Leadville.
While the team maxes out at 11 runners this year, injuries and alternative commitments had the Titans down to four, with one freshman girl, two freshmen boys and a sophomore boy all toeing the line in Leadville.
With three of the Titans making their first foray into the five-kilometer distance of high school races, Daniels kept expectations in check and the pressure off to ensure their first high school race wouldn’t be their last.
“I told them there are no expectations,” says Daniels. “It’s just about getting their first 5k done and having a positive experience. Start out slow and get faster throughout the race rather than go out too fast and just suffer.”
In the end the four runners did just what Daniels asked and wrapped up their first race of the season with smiles on their faces but knowing they are capable of more.
“I think all of them felt they could have pushed harder but that they still tried hard,” says Daniels.
The team hopes to have a few more runners join them as they head to Hotchkiss this weekend for the next race. In the meantime, Daniels and the other coaches will continue working on the foundation now for success in the future.
“We’re still building our base,” says Daniels. “Cross country is about the long game, training for the end of the season.”
In addition, not only are the coaches and the team looking forward to the season, they’re also looking forward to the program’s future.
“We’re in a building year,” says Daniels. “They really are so young. It’s about longevity and that’s how you build a team, with your freshmen.”