With top runners resting ahead of elite Arizona meet, young Tigers step up in Arvada
Summit’s top seven runners will race at Desert Twilight in Arizona Friday, Sept. 24
The Summit High School cross-country running team performed well at the Arvada West Invitational, Friday, Sept. 17, despite the fact that several of the team’s top runners did not compete.
The Tigers were without juniors Dom Remeikis, Zach McBride and Landon Cunningham as well as freshman Josh Shriver on the boys side, while freshman Ella Hagen, sophomore Adeline Avery and freshman Cece Miner did not run on the girls side. The group of seven runners took the meet off in order to rest up in advance of the Desert Twilight Invitational on Friday, Sept. 24, in Chandler, Arizona, one of the biggest cross-country meets each fall in the nation. McBride and Remeikis are the only Tigers who have run at the Desert Twilight before, with Remeikis winning the “championship“ race last year. The championship race is the second-highest level race, the “sweepstakes” race featuring some of the country’s best racers. Remeikis, Shriver and Hagen will race the sweepstakes next week.
Without those seven runners, Tigers sophomore Roan Varble was the fastest Tiger boy on the day, racing to a 41st-place time of 19 minutes and 33 seconds at the hilly, slow 5,000-meter course at the Stenger Soccer Complex.
“He’s an important runner for us,” Tigers head coach Mike Hagen said. “We need our fifth (boys runner) to be really strong to qualify for state. He had a solid race: 42 seconds slower than (the previous week’s) Liberty Bell (Invitational) on a course that is 40 to 50 seconds slower.”
Varble was followed up by promising Tigers freshman Bryce Oppito. Despite Friday’s course racing slower for most than Liberty Bell, Oppito took a major step forward with a 77th-place time of 21:14, a personal record, that was a full two and a half minutes faster than his time at the Liberty Bell.
On the Tigers girls side, Summit sophomore Sophia Bertonneau was Summit’s top runner on the day, racing to a 24th-place time of 21:51 — a time 43 seconds slower than Liberty Bell. Summit’s second-fastest female runner on the day was junior Logan Reid, who’s 41st-place time of 22:50 was only nine seconds behind her pace at the faster Liberty Bell course.
As for next week, Mike Hagen said the Desert Twilight is one of the top three meets of the year’s for Summit, along with regionals and state. Ahead of Desert Twilight, Mike Hagen said the Tigers’ group of seven runners will have a second consecutive week of difficult training, namely high-intensity interval runs that are meant to emulate the breakneck pace Summit’s runners will see in Arizona. For example, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, Summit’s training for the Desert Twilight consisted of four sets of back-to-back 600-meter, 400-meter and 200-meter runs. Summit’s top runners, the coach said, are encouraged to run closer to their pace for a mile run rather than a 5K in the training.
As for what the Tigers runners did for Saturday’s more relaxed practice?
“We ran up French Gulch and admired the fall colors,” Hagen said.
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