Hotchkiss cross country coach Kelly Cowan knew that the boys' team didn't have a clear path to state. "We knew we'd have to run well and we did," said Cowan, whose team finished three runners in the top 12 to place third at Friday's 2A Region 4 meet.
They were just three points behind second-place Telluride. The top four teams, and the top 15 placers qualified for the state meet.
After nearly a month away from competition, junior Andrew Tiedeman finished third with a time of 16 minutes, 47.33 seconds.
Tiedeman last competed at the Hotchkiss meet on Sept. 21, where he claimed his first individual win. A week later he was sick and missed the Anna Banana race, then the Paonia race was canceled. "That kind of set me back," said Tiedeman, who kept training throughout the three weeks. "In my mind it shouldn't have. I guess it's just a slow day."
Tiedeman said he knew Jack Plantz of Telluride and Forrest Smith of Crested Butte, who placed one and two, respectively, "were going to be really tough to beat. If they weren't here I probably would have run it as fast as I did. They did set the pace a little bit for me." Plantz's winning pace of 16:02.13 set a new meet record.
Junior Ty Clock placed 11th with a time of 17:40.7, and Bryce Homme sprinted against a Meeker runner to finish 12th with a time of 17:49.18. Freshman Zack Allen and sophomore Will Drbohlav will round out the five-member state-qualifying team.
Tiedeman said he's looking forward to practice and getting back in shape in time for the state meet on Oct. 26. "That's where it really matters," said Tiedeman. "It's the last one (of the season), so go out with a bang."
The defending state champion Hotchkiss girls' cross country team is favored to win this Saturday's state cross country title after placing five runners in the top 10 Friday at the 2A Region 4 meet at Delta.
Senior Natalie Anderson claimed her first regional title with a time of 19 minutes, 5.6 seconds. With about 600 meters to go, Anderson said she glanced back to see if anyone was gaining on her. "I knew it was going to be Mae (Anderson) or Jenni (Celis), and I saw Mae," said Anderson, who in middle school used to make her younger sister run with her and would often find her hiding behind the couch.
Anderson said she looked back after another 20 or so yards, and her little sister was still holding a strong second.
"I was really surprised," said the senior Anderson. "I had to do a double-take."
Mae, who was ranked fourth, admitted she was a little surprised to finish second. She said she was running with a small pack and shook the competition about 800 yards from the finish. "I just leaned forward a little bit," said Anderson, who knew she'd be in second if she could pass the pack. Mae's second-place time of 19:45.4 was also a career personal best.
"I've seen it coming for a while," said head coach Kelly Cowan of Mae's race. "She was really starting to come into her own as a runner. It didn't surprise me that she ran that well."
Cowan praised his entire team. "They did all the things they needed to," said Cowan.
Jenni Celis finished fifth with a time of 20:20.6, Katy Parsons placed seventh (20:40.40), and Sophia Schelle was ninth (20:58.6). Junior Tiffany Clock placed 20th with a time of 22:20.20.
The girls' team will be defending its state title this Saturday at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. The course is known for "Big Willis," a climb early in the race that gains almost 300 meters in elevation."
"We've been talking about really pushing that hill," said Natalie Anderson, a four-time qualifier who placed third at state in 2012. "Coach has been saying, 'You've got to run your first mile and not someone else's first mile and then struggle the second mile.' So that's the goal."blog comments powered by Disqus