Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Titans cross-country team ramping up for the post season

They head to regionals Friday in Delta

by Than Acuff

With the October Break looming and some runners missing due to travel and injury, a small squad of four Crested Butte Titan runners headed to the Eric Wolff Invitational, a new race for the Titans, in Monte Vista on Friday, October 11 to continue their build-up for regionals.

The decision to test out a new course was simple. It was based partly on travel and a lot on the fact that the race in Monte Vista also served as the Southern Peaks league championships.

“It gives us a chance to see schools in our Southern Peaks league that we don’t normally get to see at other races,” says coach Laura Puckett Daniels.

The course itself offered runners an opportunity to strive for faster times with a mix of golf course running as well as some sections of trail. Nevertheless, speed was not the sole focus for the Titans, as they had the bigger regional meet coming up. Rather, the coaches had something else in mind for their runners.

“We are more gunning for the regional race to be our fastest race of the season,” explains Daniels. “We just wanted them to go out aggressive to get in a good position and then use the racers ahead of them as stepping stones to move up and pass people. Everyone was engaged in the strategy.”

Porter Washburn has been bouncing back and forth just under and just over the 20-minute mark. While Washburn finished on the high side of 20 minutes, posting a time of 20:06.7, he did crack the top 20 to cross in 19th place. The coaches also celebrated the return of Logan Utz back from injury. Utz finished the day the second runner for Crested Butte with a time of 22:23.7.

“It was good to see Logan run after a three-week hiatus,” says Daniels.

Jude Eaton had a bit of a mid-season slump but continues to shake it off with each week. The past two weeks he regained his race pace and continued to build on that in Monte Vista, finishing on the heels of Utz with a time of 22:24.0.

“He had a solid race and executed the race strategy,” says Daniels.

Meanwhile, Yvon Michel continued on his positive trajectory for the season to finish in a time of 23:32.4.

“He has improved a ton,” says Daniels. “We’ve been focusing on improvement throughout the season and he’s gotten faster every week.”

Now the coaches must keep the team engaged and rested this week as they prepare for regionals on Friday, October 18 in Delta. Given current injuries and October Break travel, the Titans still look to have one girl and five boys toe the line and put their best times down of the season.

“Delta is almost always our fastest course of the season,” says Daniels. “I would say we have an outside chance of qualifying for state but the focus really is finishing solid and strong and feeling like they put out their best performance. Right now we want them to just rest, hydrate and feel fresh and fast.”

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