COLORADO SPRINGS – The Telluride High School boys and girls Cross Country teams ran away with more hardware than they could carry from the Colorado State Cross Country Championships, held in Colorado Springs on Saturday.
Their haul included a first-place finish for Rachel Hampton in the girls’ championship, a second-place finish for the boys’ team, and a third-place finish for the girls’ team.
What the Telluride girls team lacked in numbers (the team only has three runners, while competitors have five) they made up for in determination, with lead runner Rachel Hampton moving immediately to the front of the pack to start the race.
With her teammates Anna Fake and Jessie Hild positioned in the top 25 as the race continued, Hampton increased the gap on her competition.
When asked if she was worried about taking the lead so early in the race, Hampton said, “No – I felt rested and prepared for the race. I just tried to press the pace, and see who might want to follow.”
The work paid off, with Hampton claiming the State Cross Country title in 19:48.3 – Telluride’s first-ever girls Cross Country individual state championship. Freshman Fake meanwhile landed on the podium in eighth place, distinguishing her as the top freshman girl in the state Class 2A.
When the dust had cleared, the Telluride girls had finished in third place, behind champion Hotchkiss and runner-up Lyons.
“I was so proud of our team; they ran with incredible guts and determination,” said coach Keith Hampton, noting that the teams that have been led by seniors Hampton and Hild have finished in the top five in state every year, with fifth-place team finishes in 2009 and 2010 and third-place team finishes in 2011 and 2012.
The excitement continued for Telluride when the boys took to the line two hours later. Although they were ranked third behind Lyons and Hotchkiss, the team of Dylan Newell, Jack Plantz, Nathan Loomis, Alfred Stauder, and Cory Page had been beating the odds week after week, their coach said.
At the gun the Telluride Harriers got off the line well, with four runners in the top 20. Freshman speedster Plantz quickly took up position off the shoulder of Hotchkiss’ top runner in 6th place with Newell and Loomis close behind. As the race unfolded, Telluride looked strong, but Lyons was stronger, putting more of their men in the front of the pack.
The boys ran tough to finish the race, so that no Telluride runner was passed, over the final mile, as Plantz crossed the line in fifth and Newell finished just behind in sixth. Stauder rounded out the scoring for Telluride with a 20th place, putting their team score at 27, short of Lyon’s winning score of 11, but well ahead of third-place Crested Butte with 44.
The team’s second-place finish this year added to a fourth-place in 2011 and a first-place finish in 2010, proving that the Telluride boys continue to be one of the state’s strongest teams, Coach Hampton said.
Summing up the day, Coach Hampton continued, “Our kids have worked incredibly hard for their success. Some have run upwards of 1,400 miles since June to prepare for this meet. Their results today show what hard work and commitment can achieve.”