Titan boys win regional cross-country title

Return to state for third time

The regional title was in the cards, but one never knows until race day what may transpire. Fact is, three years ago, the Crested Butte boys cross-country team was favored to win the regional title but fell short of expectations. Fortunately, they made up for it later when they won the state title.
This year, the Titans were certainly not favored to win the regional title. But both coach Connie Hayden and coach Shari Sullivan-Marshall did expect a top three finish, and thus another bid to the state championships as a team.
But first place?
“The kids killed it,” says Hayden.
Nearly every Titan on the boys team shattered personal records and literally ran away with the regional title on Saturday, October 19 in Delta, finishing 10 points ahead of second-place Telluride.
“It’s a fast course so we were expecting speed for sure but we weren’t really expecting them to take off huge chunks of time,” explains Hayden. “It was just such sweet reward because they’ve worked their butts off.”
Senior Forrest Smith had his hands full with his main competitor out of Telluride. The two have built up a healthy rivalry and spent the entire five-kilometers pushing each other.
“Forrest’s plan was to go out with him and work together,” says Hayden.
They did for almost the entire race until the final one kilometer when Smith couldn’t quite keep in pace and ended up in second place, just eight seconds back, with a new personal record time of 16:10, 11 seconds faster than ever before.
“Forrest ran a very solid race,” says Hayden. “It’s tough at his level to continue to take a lot of time off, and for him to take that much time off is an indication that he is peaking.”
With Smith’s job done, it was up to the next two Titan runners to determine whether or not they would take their first regional title since 2003. Suffice it to say, both sophomore Aiden Truettner and senior Kyle Boyle sealed the deal with authority.
Truettner shaved almost a full minute off his personal record time to place fourth with a time of 16:50, hitting both goals set prior to the race.
“Aiden let loose,” says Hayden. “We were hoping for top five for him and a sub-17 time. When he actually did it, it validated all of the hard work he’s been doing.”
Meanwhile, Boyle has been biding his time all season, making strides to return to top form and he flirted with it at regionals when he posted a time of 17:15, breaking his previous personal record by 32 seconds and coming in seventh place.
“Kyle has been training really smart and he knows how to put it all together,” says Hayden. “He went above and beyond what we expected.”
But it didn’t stop there, as senior Danny D’Aquila tied his previous personal record time to finish in 10th and sophomore Conrad Truettner and junior Joe Hayes also set new personal records to finish 26th and 45th.
“This year, everyone just showed up,” says Hayden. “Their dedication paid off with the regional win. We were actually the underdogs going in and it was kind of a surprise that we won by that much.”
The Titans girls’ runners followed suit with a slew of personal records, to come in fourth place as a team. While they missed a state bid as a team by one place, which is admirable given their region has the top two programs in the state, two runners qualified for state as individuals.
Senior Elizabeth Kilpatrick had not competed in a race in more than a month and the break fueled her fire to return with a vengeance at regionals. Kilpatrick carved two minutes off her personal record, posting a time of 21:18 to finish in 12th place.
“She was just itching to go,” says Hayden. “We were expecting a huge effort and knew she had it in her.”
Meanwhile, sophomore Sam Crossett had been through her own trials and tribulations leading up to the regional meet but cast any doubts aside, placing 15th.
“We didn’t know what to expect and she blew our minds,” says Hayden. “That girl just knows how to suffer.”
As a result of their determination, both Crossett and Kilpatrick qualified for state.
“When they toe the line, they are different animals,” says Hayden. “They are our most fierce competitors.”
Sophomore Tara Mortell suffered some debilitating stomach issues but still finished next in line for the Titans in 29th place. Senior Shannon Costello set a new personal record to come in 31st, and sophomores Bradley Santelli and Sienna Brooks finished their seasons with personal records as well to place 32nd and 37th, respectively.
Seven Titans are headed to the state championships, with Crossett and Kilpatrick representing the Titans in the girls race and Smith, Truettner, Boyle, D’Aquila and Hayes headed there for the boys team.
The race will be on Saturday, October 26 in Colorado Springs at the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center, with the girls kicking off at 9:20 a.m. and the boys race starting at 11:30 a.m. It’s a course that the Titans can shine on.
“The nature of the state course plays to our strengths—it’s super hilly,” says Hayden.

Check Also

Kochevar’s squeaks out win over Pitas in softball

The future of town league is now [  by Than Acuff  ] Couple things first. …