Titans cross country survives Aspen race

Team plagued by illness, October Break, course etc.

Every course on the cross-country schedule has its quirks. Leadville is high. Ridgway has a brutal hill. Gunnison was soggy.
Aspen’s course is a whole different beast, though. It’s hilly, rough, uneven and sketchy.
“It’s notorious,” says Titans coach Connie Hayden. “Super hilly and the terrain is very rough. It’s literally just a mowed field.”
In prior years runners have been taken away from the race in ambulances after suffering near-career-ending ankle injuries.
Throw in a school trip to the United Kingdom, the onset of the October Break and the flu epidemic and you’ve got the makings of a nightmarish race in the works.
With everything working against her, coach Hayden managed to get seven of her runners to Aspen on Saturday. Granted, of the seven maybe three or four were actually race-ready.
Junior Erin Kelly was healthy and continued her streak of first-place finishes, winning her fifth race in a row with a time of 21 minutes and 39 seconds. Kelly ran with the lead pack the first mile and then took off, leaving the rest of the field behind and finishing 30 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.
“Erin had a great race,” says Hayden. “She finished really strong.”
Freshman Amber Scott pulled off a solid race, having just completed her battle with the flu a day before the race, and freshman Taylor O’Neal closed her season strong surviving the course to post a time of 28 minutes and seven seconds.
“Taylor had a great finish to her season,” says Hayden.
Hayden will use the October Break to focus on “a rejuvenation period” and prepare the team for the Montrose Relays on Saturday, October 17.
Following those, the team should be back to full strength and Hayden will have her team preparing for the post season.
“We’ll button up our training for the regional meet on October 24 in Aspen,” says Hayden.

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