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Seconded at the Spartan.

Times drop like leaves at Bear Creek, but Lady Coug's can't handle Vista Nation. Boy Cougs fall prey to injury and sickness..

Conor+Strizich%2C+seen+here+at+the+Cougar+Classic%2C+was+the+top+finisher+for+the+boys+at+Doherty%27s+Spartan+Invite+with+a+time+of+17%3A05.
Conor Strizich, seen here at the Cougar Classic, was the top finisher for the boys at Doherty's Spartan Invite with a time of 17:05.

Conor Strizich, seen here at the Cougar Classic, was the top finisher for the boys at Doherty's Spartan Invite with a time of 17:05.

Becca Bieda

Becca Bieda

Conor Strizich, seen here at the Cougar Classic, was the top finisher for the boys at Doherty's Spartan Invite with a time of 17:05.


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On a beautiful day, partly on the State Cross Country course and against local powerhouse teams Rampart, Pine Creek, Doherty, the B team of nationally ranked Mountain Vista, and many others, the Cougar harriers competed at the Spartan Invitational, on Thurs. 10/5.

The days started with the JV girls race.  The Cougars were paced by junior Deizy Dominguez and freshman Tryna Brinkman who came in just one second apart at 24:47 and 24:48, respectively for their fastest times this season. The rest of the Scarlet and New Gold came in steadily after the lead duo over the next ten minutes with season bests coming from twelve of the fifteen girls in the race. Sophomore Abby Gerber gave herself quite the birthday present with a 19 second drop over her previous fastest time at the Cougar Classic.

About the faster times, Coach Stoughton said that the “kids ran even faster than on the easier course at the Cougar Classic,” and that “this shows how hard the kids have been working to run faster where they should be a lot slower.”

In the boys JV race, the Cougs were paced by sophomore Corban Littau, back from a brief hiatus, at a 20:30.  The boys also showed improvement with 5 of 9 runners in the race hitting their fastest times of the season. The most remarkable improvement at Bear Creek came from sophomore Gage Broyles who cut off over 8 minutes from the last race he ran.  “He just keeps plugging away; the more he keeps at it, the more he is going to see his time drop,” said Coach Stoughton.

The girls’ varsity race kicked off at 3:30 with a bang and a stampede charge as the race narrowed down from a 25 team start line to a path about 4 people wide within 100 meters, and the Cougar pack working in two chunks to take apart the competition.  The five scoring Cougars, seniors Chloe Cassens and Taylor Dutton, juniors Maddy Morland and Faith Roth, and sophomore Grace Abernethy, all of which have taken the top spot this year on the team, worked to stay close and heed their coach’s advice of pack running. Despite some quality performances from the girls-Dutton took 5th with a 19:59 for her first sub-20 performance this season and Abernethy claimed 6th with an oh-so-close 20:00.85, and the rest all finished in the top 20, the Cougars finished second in the team scores to Mountain Vista’s B-team by a score of 55-68.

Abernethy was excited and frustrated about her time. “I was so happy with the [25 second over last season] improvement, but, it was hard to get so close to the [20 minute] barrier.”

Rest assured, the Cougars put away all the other competition, many of whom they will see this week at the CSML Championships.

On the boys’ side, the Cougars were down two of their top five runners with senior Andrew Burton out with a knee injury and junior Ben Hayes-Lemmon recovering from sickness.  The top two boys, senior Conor Strizich and junior Ben Swanson, traded spots again as the Cougar leader.  This time, Strizich, down one with top finishes at Woodland Park and the Cougar Classic evened up the season count at 3-3 as he came in just five seconds ahead of Swanson, who was the top Cougar at the Stampede, Leadville, and Salida meets. All but one of the eight boys in the varsity race clocked their fastest time of the season, keeping up the trend of hard work working.

“It was frustrating to be down two guys, especially heading into the CSML week and seeing so much of our competition, but the guys all ran hard.  Now, we will have to see how they do next week,” said Coach Stoughton after the boys’ results.

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Seconded at the Spartan.