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RBC I Most people think runners are just a little bit crazy. And then there are days like this past Saturday that runners begin to have those same thoughts. After beating a trail to their Suburbans before sunrise (some got there a little earlier than others) the runners traveled to Aspen to tackle the course that starts at 8,000 feet where the air is both cold and thin. With an uphill start, this course makes you think about the stories your grandpa told you about walking uphill both ways too and from school in the snow. Yes, the kids got up willingly to tackle what is considered one of the toughest 5K cross country courses in Colorado and yes, perhaps they are little bit crazy.
Along with Meeker and Rangely, 15 other schools towed the line as 110 runners readied themselves for the challenging course on mountains of Aspen, Colo. There wasn’t much of a sprint at the start of this race as most runners set into motion a pace that would allow them to survive the course, however that didn’t keep Rangely’s William Scoggins and Meeker’s Lathrop Hughes from setting out with the leaders. From there on the race was mostly up hill on winding paths cut out with mowers the day before that weaved through open fields and trees. We were able to catch glimpses of the runners but it wasn’t until they made it back to the high school that we knew how they fared.
The first runner to come out of the trees and head to the finish line was Scoggins who completed the course 26 seconds in front of his nearest competitor in a time of 18:15. With a strong finish, Hughes passed several runners in the final stretch to finish 25th with a time of 20:31. The two seniors from Rio Blanco County had great runs that left their legs a bit rubbery as they led the way for their respective teams.
The Panthers had several outstanding performances. Running the Aspen 5K course for the first time, freshman Chris Hogan had a time of 20:43, earning a 28th place finish. He has been improving every week and has the sixth fastest time run by a freshman at the 2A level this year. Mitchell Webber crossed the finish line in 71st place with a time 22:37 and helped lead the team to 12th place finish. Daniel Connor and Kaycee Freeman worked together during the race and finished less than one-half second apart as Connor finished in 25:07.3 and Freeman in 25:07.6 earning 98th and 99th place respectively.
The Cowboys did not have a full team for this event but were led by strong performances as Caleb Lange finished in 77th place in a time of 22:52 after an amazing sprint at the finish. Sam Lange ran a solid time on the devilish course and finished in 26:29 and earned 108th place.
Both teams will be preparing for the regional meet that will be held in Delta Oct. 17.