Don and I have been involved with nearly every high school cross country race run on the exceptional red rock trails in Confluence Park.
Consequently, we've been watching the recent discussions regarding improvements with great interest. We were both alarmed at the mention of paving some of the trails and submit that it could effectively eliminate future use for junior and senior high school cross country competitions.
The current red rock base is ideal for young athletes. All junior and senior high school cross country courses across the state are designed to minimize use of hard surfaces such as concrete, pavement and hard-packed road base. The best athletes wear cross country spikes which have no cushioning.
Confluence Park has developed the reputation as the venue of choice in western Colorado, particularly for the regional competition. In fact, on most occasions, the rotating host schools choose Delta instead of a venue in their own area, spending school budget money for team travel that could have been saved. That's not only because of the desirable running surfaces but also because the course is runnable despite almost any weather conditions. The regional race cannot be postponed due to weather since it's the means by which athletes qualify for state and the state competition is the following Saturday. These cross country events bring 100-300 athletes plus their coaches and families to Delta.
As the city goes forward with plans to improve our great Confluence Park, please consider the dire consequences of paving the trails used for cross country courses.
Track & Field/Cross