Crested Butte Titans cross-country kicks season into gear in Leadville

“Fantastic way to start the season”

by Than Acuff

Last weekend, the Titans opened their cross-country season, as they often do, with the highest cross-country race in the nation at the Lake County Invitational. Furthermore, not only is it the highest race, but it is also a relatively tough course with some lung-busting hills thrown into the mix.

In an effort to prepare his runners, coach Austin Ross switched gears in his team’s training regimen leading up to the race, throwing some hill training into their workouts.

“We tried to bring more focus to our workouts to get ready for race season when it counts a little more,” says Ross. “We tailored our training to mimic the terrain in Leadville.”

The Labor Day weekend depleted a portion of the team but Ross did have seven runners compete in Leadville and was happy with what he saw out of his young team.

“We has some really good personal performances from a lot of different places,” says Ross.

Sydney Petersen continued her ascent to the front of the pack with a stand-out performance in Leadville. Petersen placed seventh overall posting a faster time than her race in Leadville last season.

“That was a fantastic way to start the season,” says Ross.

Maria O’Neal joined the team this year and appears to have adjusted to the altitude quite well, running to a 12th-place finish.

“For her to be that strong at altitude is a feather in her cap,” says Ross.

Vincent Michel has been called upon to lead the boys team this year. While Michel spent last season honing his skills, he’s now been thrust into the spotlight for the Titan boys.

“He’s stepping into a different role this season and carrying a little more weight on his shoulders,” says Ross.

Michel’s first race in his new role went relatively well as he finished 26th and should continue to climb the ranks as the season continues.

“On that course and at altitude, it was a really strong effort from Vincent,” says Ross.

Kelly Sherman had quite a race as well as she put down her best effort in her high school career so far in the JV race.

“It was definitely the best race she’s run and gave her some confidence I hope.” says Ross.

The Titans are headed to Grand Junction this weekend and if the heat holds off, Ross is looking for continued improvement from all of his runners.

“It’s an interesting course—not hilly but there are some challenging aspects,” says Ross. “I’m excited to see some fast times.”

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