Cougars Show Improvement, but Not Enough to Move Up at Cross Country State

Despite running amazingly fast times, girls drop to 12th place in the state

Confident+in+their+running+abilities+and+their+season%2C+but+leery+of+the+competition%2C+the+Cougars+toe+the+line+at+State.
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Cougars Show Improvement, but Not Enough to Move Up at Cross Country State

Confident in their running abilities and their season, but leery of the competition, the Cougars toe the line at State.

Confident in their running abilities and their season, but leery of the competition, the Cougars toe the line at State.

Confident in their running abilities and their season, but leery of the competition, the Cougars toe the line at State.

Confident in their running abilities and their season, but leery of the competition, the Cougars toe the line at State.

Honcho Taco Guts, Staff Writer

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The current group of varsity runners for Coronado’s cross country team has been running together for years.  Last year, the girls ran well enough to place 7th at the 5A state meet. In 2015, with now-Californian Elana Muzzy, 12, instead of then eighth-grader Grace Abernethy, 10, the girls earned 5th.  For Chloe Cassens, 12, this would be her fourth trip to the championship. With the girls having run some amazing times this season, they were poised to perform well at State on Saturday, 10/28, and hopefully get back into the top 5.

Run well they did.  Crack the top 5 they did not.

From the start, the Cougars were running fast; so was the rest of the field.  Abernethy was the first Cougar through mile one with a 5:57, but Cassens, Taylor Dutton, 12, Faith Roth, 11, and Madeline Morland, 11, were not that far behind; the slowest coming through at 6:10.  Those are amazing times, but Stephanie Carrasco from Thornton lead the pack with a 5:37.  All told, about 35 girls hit the mile mark before the first Cougar.

As the race continued, the pace did not slacken.  Layla Roebke, 11, after a slower first mile that saw her stuck in traffic, worked her way closer to her teammates.  The Cougar strategy of packing up and running together was in full effect for much of the race.  At the two-mile mark, runners 3-5 Morland, Roth, and Dutton all came in at 13:06.

By comparison, at last year’s championships, Dutton was the top Cougar at the two-mile in a time of 13:00, with the fifth runner 39 seconds back.  This year’s top Cougar, Abernethy was 18 seconds faster through two miles and the fifth was 23 seconds faster.

Once the hills and the prairie were behind them and the creek was crossed, the Cougars stormed up the final hill and into the rodeo stadium.  As they crossed the finish line, the girls had a lot to be happy about.

Abernethy had come in 41st (33rd in the team scoring) at 19:30, compared to her 20:40 from 2016

Cassens finished in 52nd (42nd) at 19:42, compared to her 20:45 from 2016.

Morland was 71st (57th) with a 20:03, compared to a 21:21 in 2016.

Roth was 84th (67th) in 20:11, compared to 20:27 from 2016.

Dutton came in 5th for the Cougars only one second behind Roth for 86th (69th), with a 20:12 where last year she ran slightly better with a 20:08.

Roebke closed out a blistering third mile to finish just one place behind Dutton and three seconds back with a 20:15, a staggering 1:40 faster than last year’s time.

Hannah Besse, 12, wrapped up her senior season in bold fashion, running through several illnesses in her last three weeks to clock a 23:26.

The top six Coronado girls averaged 54.5 seconds faster than last year. A year where they were 7th in the state.

This year, the whole of the race seemed to have picked up the pace.  Team champion Mountain Vista was paced by four runners in the top 10, led by an 18:10.  The Cougars finished 12th.  Their times this year would have earned them 3rd place last year.

Moving forward, the Cougar girls need to know that they ran amazingly and no one could have asked for more from them.  The girls will take their talents down to Arizona for one last team race in November for the Nike Cross Country Southwest Regional Meet before the three seniors hang up their spikes and close a wonderful chapter of Coronado Girls Cross Country.

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