Salida girls take advantage of full strength run in Gunnison

Today marked the first time this season that Salida had their full squad in action and looked much improved.

The Lady Spartans

With a team average of 21:46 (team average factors in the top five scoring runners), we now look much more like a team that wants to be in the top 10 at state next month. Two weeks ago we were virtually even with the Gunnison Cowgirls at the Alamosa meet. Different story today. We were better at every position in the scoring lineup and were 1:18 ahead of their team average.

Alex had her best race to date and I know that this best race will soon be replaced by another top performance. She matched Quinn’s pace through two miles and narrowly missed dipping under 21. Lanee and Ella were super steady. 54 seconds mark the improvement of Ella from last year to this year on the Western course. Kaylynn unleashed a monster kick and dropped two competitors from Delta like a seriously bad habit. “Kaylynn’s Kick”, as it shall be known henceforth, was dazzling enough to catch the attention of the Western State head coach. Impressive team performance ladies!

Lady Spartans Time/Place

Quinn Smith 20:45/1
Alex Hebert 21:07/2 and PR
Lanee Dzuira 21:42/4
Ella Haynes 22:36/6
Kaylynn Shaffer 22:44/7
Fern Clark 23:36/12

Spartan Boys

A similar story to the girls, our guys team put some pieces of the puzzle together today. The most obvious new piece in the lineup was Hollis. The last time Hollis raced with the Salida XC team was about 22 months ago. Hollis has secured the right mindset, which will allow him to keep moving up the ladder as his fitness and racing sharpness return. Even though 5th ranked Gunnison still beat us today, we are now much closer to their time zone than we were two weeks ago. Hollis just edged out Gunnison’s 5th runner with a kick of his own.

Outside of a guy named Taylor Stack, Elijah ran the fastest time of any other Spartan on the current Western State course. Kuper was only seven seconds back of Gunnison’s Brennan Stice as compared to 23 seconds just two weeks ago. I know that Elijah and Kuper both came up short of their race time goals and its important to keep perspective. Kuper gave Izayah and Hollis someone to chase and in doing so, our team was able hold strong in the closing stages of the race. One challenge that “Covid Racing” (small races and waves) is presenting is that races have a tendency to get spread out. We need to be able to adjust to a more internal motivation as sometimes it gets really lonely out there and it’s just you versus the clock. Strong work today, fellas!

Spartans Time/Place

Elijah Wilcox 17:16/3
Kuper Banghart 18:35/7
Izayah Baxter 18:47/8
Hollis Beddingfield 18:57/9
Tristan Jackson 20:43/21
Connor Williams of Crested Butte takes the W in 16:02

Caleb Burggraaf
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