Titan runners continue to improve at Cowboy Invitational

Illness puts hurt on team

by Than Acuff

The annual Cowboy Invitational cross-country race in Gunnison typically provides the Crested Butte Titan runners a chance to shine. But illness left some of their top runners missing from the race on Saturday, September 15. Nevertheless, the Titans did toe the line and while the result sheet reads one way, the actual effort and times by the runners tell a different tale.

“We still had a great meet with the kids who were able to run,” says coach Shari Sullivan-Marshall. “We had six runners, six season-best times and four personal records.”

The competition in the boys race was incredible as runners from larger programs set a furious pace with the leaders raging through the first mile.

“The leaders went through at 5:04 the first mile,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “It was such a fast race. When I saw our runners and saw their first mile time I thought, ‘Well, they’re right where they should be.’”

The four Titans, two ninth graders and two 10th graders, held their own through the entire race to come through the finish line with personally respectable times.

“Logan took three and a half minutes off the time he ran last year and I was really happy with their results and times,” says Sullivan-Marshall.

She even saw her new runners get over the “5k fear” in Gunnison as they held a new attitude through the five-kilometer race.

“A lot of kids have that 5k fear and Cormac and Porter are now attacking the 5k,” said the coach.

The two Titan girls are still cutting their teeth on the high school distance and pace but proved that the work they’ve put in so far will start to bear fruit as the season continues.

“They found each other in the race and worked together,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “They’re going to keep on improving.”

The team heads to the Anna Banana Invitational this weekend and Sullivan-Marshall is looking forward to having more Titans toe the line as they get back to health.

“I’m hoping we will have both girls and six boys running,” says Sullivan-Marshall.

Meanwhile, the coaches are ready to start ramping up the team workouts and improve the athletes’ race day mindset.

“Our goal is always being a smarter racer and being a more aggressive runner,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “Physically the runners are ready to roll with the workouts we have planned the next three weeks and have some great training blocks with the races we will be running.”

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