Heritage Cross Country hits the ground running

Eagle Cross Country was off to a speedy start with the first race of the season, the Pre-State Cross Country meet, also called the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede, held on Thursday, August 22.

The meet took place in Colorado Springs at Bear Creek Park, on the same course where the State Championship meet will be held later in the season. The five kilometer course was true to the spirit of cross country, run on dirt trails with two water crossings and an ascent of a devilishly steep hill.

XC Pre-State2

Heritage runners crest the top of a hill on the Pre-State cross country course.

“It’s a challenging course,” says Chris Pohs ‘15, a varsity runner and team captain.

The terrain surprised several of the freshmen and sophomores at the meet, some of whom had never run a high school cross country race before.

“It was tougher than I thought,” comments Katie Gage ‘18.

“The hill was worse than everyone said, but all the cheering motivated me to keep going,” agrees Sofia Uhlig ‘18.

The meet was an opportunity for the runners to familiarize themselves with this course in preparation for state, as well as to test their competition and see how their summer training has paid off. There were fourteen teams in the boys’ race and thirteen in the girls’ race, with the toughest competition coming from Grandview, Smoky Hill, Regis Jesuit and Pomona High Schools.

Twenty-eight Heritage athletes raced at the meet, consisting of the Varsity and JV teams for boys and girls. HHS teams placed exceptionally well, with the Boys Varsity, Boys JV, and Girls JV all winning their respective categories. Heritage also had several runners place in the top ten of their races.

Boys head coach Brian Runyon was pleased with the results, noting the improvement in his team as compared to the previous season, which he attributed to the rigorous summer training of his athletes.

Commenting on his goals for the season, Runyon emphasizes that he wants the team to have fun. However, he also anticipates strong performances at upcoming meets.

“All of our training is designed around succeeding at League, Regionals and State,” he says.

Heritage XC has several weeks of races and training before those final competitions, and the runners are excited for what lies ahead. Upcoming meets include the Cherry Creek Invitational on Friday, September 5 and the Liberty Bell Invitational, Heritage’s home meet, on Friday, September 12.

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