Cross-country battles sand in Salida

“It was a really slow course”

by Than Acuff

The Titans cross-country team had a rough go over the weekend as they headed to Salida on Saturday, September 28. Of the nine runners, only five were able to toe the line due to injuries and illnesses but the five that did show, pushed through another tough course.

“It was real cross-country, really rugged,” says coach Laura Puckett Daniels. “Even the flat stuff was loose and there were short, steep technical sections. It was a really slow course.”

George Aklan was the Titan story of the day. Aklan is an exchange student and somewhat new to running on five-kilometer-long courses. After spending the first few races getting his feet underneath him, Aklan stepped into his own in Salida despite the challenging conditions to post a personal record time.

“He’s figured out the pacing in a five-kilometer race,” says Daniels.

Porter Washburn continues to be the fastest Titan week in and week out. While the course did take its toll on runners leaving them with slower times than usual, Washburn still remained in range of his personal record time.

“He was only 38 seconds off of his fastest time on a course that was really slow,” says Daniels. “In fact, all of their times show a story of increasing strength as they all remained close to their fastest times.”

Overall, the past two weeks have been a brutal test for the Titans with the epic challenge of the Ridgway course two weeks ago and the sandy slog of Salida last weekend.

“Between Ridgway and Salida they’re ready for something easy,” says Daniels. “Hopefully they’re poised for some really fast times.”

They will get that chance as the cross-country team heads to Delta for a race on Friday, October 4.

“We expect some fast times and personal records out of these kids in Delta,” says Daniels. “They will get a chance to feel their speed.”

But first, the runners need to get healthy as after Delta they have a meet in Monte Vista and then they head back to Delta for the regional meet.

“We’re struggling with injuries and sickness so we’re just trying to get everybody healthy because regionals is in three weeks,” says Daniels.

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