High temperatures did not deter the Summit High School runners in their first cross-country meet of the season, held last Thursday. The Cheyenne Mountain Stampede took place in Colorado Springs and offered runners a preview of the 5K state championship course.
Senior Liam Meirow claimed victory for the boys’ team, coming in first in the 4A race with a time of 17:17. Teammate Robert Koegel, also a senior, took 25th place with a time of 19:44, while Skylar Drakos finished 56th at 21:32. Other scorers were Alex Mason in 66th place and Kevin Curnutte in 71st place. Colin McGrew and Tristan Hopper finished in 87th and 88th place, respectively. The boys’ team took eighth place overall out of 18 teams.
On the girls’ side, senior Katherine Pappas finished in 15th place with a time of 21:12, and sophomore Ruthie Boyd came in 17th at 21:18. Christa Gutzel placed 72nd, Emily Pappas placed 98th and Jessica Horii was 112th. Teammates Megan McDonnell and Tessa Piehl finished at 114 and 126. The girls came in 14th out of 18 total teams.
“This is an enormous race, because it’s the only opportunity to view the state championship course,” said head coach Heather Quarantillo. “It was a great event. We got to see lots of other schools competing and lots of energy from everyone being excited about the first cross-country race of the season statewide.”
The girls’ team hopes to return to the state championships this year. Last year they finished 7th out of the 10 teams in the Western Slope region, placing 11th overall at the state level. With many of the same runners returning, Quarantillo said a return is highly likely.
Katherine Pappas, a senior this year, is into her fourth year with the team. Teammates McKenna Ramsay, Ruthie Boyd and Emily Pappas, all of whom attended the state championships last season, have returned. Sophomore Crista Gutzel is new to the team and a promising up-and-comer.
The boys’ team, according to Quarantillo, “is looking surprisingly strong. We have quite a bit more depth than we anticipated.”
Meirow, who finished in 10th place at last year’s state competition, will most definitely be gunning for it again. Koegel is also looking to head to the state championships and this is his last year to do so. Sophomore Drakos is new to the team this year and already running well, Quarantillo said.
Both teams will be working on cohesiveness, doing their best to keep their runners as close together as possible during the race to improve the team’s overall score.
The next meet is the Lake County Invitational, which will take place in Leadville on Sept. 7. This will be the closest the team will get to a home event this year and they’re planning on making the most of it.
“We’re looking to do very well there because it’s like our home stomping grounds — high altitude and lots of hills,” Quarantillo said.