Cross-country Titans battle the hill at Ramble at the Reservoir

Nicholas Harper-Johnston leads charge

The annual Ramble at the Reservoir cross-country race outside of Ridgway provides one of the most unique challenges for young cross-country runners on its course.
While courses are typically either hilly or flat, the Ridgway course has just one classic hill right at the one-mile mark. It’s a beast that can break the spirit of even the strongest runner.
“The hill is so steep it has steps on it,” says coach Connie Hayden.
Or, it can inspire a certain type of runner, a runner who looks forward to the pain, a runner such as senior Nicholas Harper-Johnston.
“Nicholas really stepped it up this race,” says Hayden. “He loves the ginormous hill.”
Harper-Johnston used the hill to gain on the leaders driving his way into the top five to finish the race in fifth place with a time of 19:51, over two minutes faster than his effort last year on the same course.
“It was really fun to see him just shine,” says Hayden. “He’s definitely on track for what he said he would do his senior year.”
Junior Erin Kelly registered another race win in Ridgway. After jumping out to a sizable lead, Kelly backed off to nurse a sore hamstring and cruised in for the win with a time of 21:57, just 30 seconds off the course record.
In addition, the freshmen girls rallied, with several setting new personal record times for the season on one of the toughest courses. Amber Scott led the freshmen runners with a 14th-place finish and Taylor O’Neal scored her first varsity points for the team this season with a 28th-place finish.
“They’re just gaining endurance and fitness with each passing day,” says Hayden.
The Titans will get their first true look at how they match up against 1A and 2A schools this weekend as they head back to the Front Range to compete in the Limon Invitational on Saturday, October 3.
“It should be really fun to see how we stack up,” says Hayden.
Furthermore, Hayden expects to see another round of personal records set in Limon.
“I’m looking for major PRs [personal records] to be the name of the game,” says Hayden.

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