State may be a target within range for girls’ cross-country |

State may be a target within range for girls’ cross-country

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Summit High School’s cross-country runners may be young, but they’re fast.

So fast that senior Sydney Stein is wondering whether she’ll make the varsity team.

Her goal is to qualify for the state meet – and hopes her team is on board.

“The girls team is phenomenal this year,” said Sam Piehl, who also hopes to make the state meet this fall, but doesn’t have as high hopes for his team as the runners seem to have for the girls.

“We have some really good freshmen,” Stein said.

Piehl and Stein have been named two of the five captains shepherding the group of roughly 30 who turned out for the season.

Liam Meirow, the sole junior leader, hopes his personal training throughout the summer – which caused him to shed 50 seconds off his personal record – will rub off on his teammates to up the echelon.

Head coach Heather Quarantillo and assistant coach Kevin Mastin seem to have high hopes for the team as well, though they’re reserved in naming their goals and aspirations for the season.

“I want to start strong and improve with every race,” she said, adding that she encourages each runner to set goals and meet them. It’s tough to track anything except personal improvement in running, because a runner’s much-improved time can land him or her a farther-back finish, depending on the competition. Aside from personal goals, if runners stick together in the race and finish among the top runners, the team score will also improve.

“Winning is really hard to quantify,” Mastin said. “You may have had a great season, qualify for state and never have won a race.”

At the same time they’re reserved, there’s a hint of excitement in Quarantillo’s voice when she speaks of the season’s capstone races: the regional and state meets.

Though some key runners have graduated in recent years, Quarantillo looks to her current seniors and the incoming freshmen runners to create a speedy team. Quarantillo doesn’t say it, but hints that there’s the possibility of the girls making state, and a handful of the runners qualifying individually.

“I feel we already have stronger teams than we had last year going into the season,” Quarantillo said. “It would be nice to improve upon (2011’s) results.”

What helps the program’s strength is the consistency of Summit Middle School’s team. The summer Summit Trail Running Series also helps, and assistant coach Kevin Mastin said it’s a strong motivation for students. Between the two, the team is starting the season well-prepared.

Last year, the team finished in the lower half of the league’s standings, with the boys’ team ranking 9th of 11 and the girls’ team placing 7th of 11.

The league has changed and the team will likely see its competition more at this season’s invites, which could afford them the opportunity to better prepare to meet opponents in the regional and state meets.

At least five of the season’s meets will have most of the league schools there, which are smaller and more competitive with Summit High School. The Jefferson County League bested Summit often, as it was one of the smallest 4A schools in the league.

If qualifying for state is an underlying goal, it helps to have stars to get there. And Summit’s teams have them.

Juniors Katherine Pappas and Meirow placed 35th and 54th, respectively, at the 2011 state meet. This year, Meirow wants to win it, and hopes his summer training will pay off. It’s been three years since a girls team has attended the state meet and 5 years since the boys have qualified.

“(Pappas and Meirow) will be clear leaders at the start of the season,” Quarantillo said, adding that senior Sydney Stein and sophomore Riley Vargo are highlights on the girls’ team.

In addition, Quarantillo has her eye on several of the incoming freshmen who are “really impressive” and proving to be varsity contenders from the start. The captains named a few of them: McKenna Ramsay, Ruthie Boyd and McKinley Jones.

Strong runners on the boys’ side include seniors Shane Arnold, Danny Cuadrado and Piehl as well as juniors Robert Koegel and Meirow.

Though Piehl and Cuadrado wish they could help lead the boys to the state, they aren’t sure it’s a realistic goal. Still, they hope to encourage runners to beat their personal best times as well as make the team as cohesive as possible.

> Team rival: None

> Meet not to miss: Lake County Invite

> Runners to watch: Liam Meirow, Katherine Pappas, McKenna Ramsay, Ruthie Boyd and McKinley Jones

> 2011 record: Boys were 9th of 11 in Western Slope Region and girls were 7th out of 11

> Coach: Heather Quarantillo

> Years coaching: 11

> Goals: Improvement at every race

> Thursday – Popsicle Race at Adams County Park, 3:45 p.m.

> Sept. 8 – Lake County Invite at CMC Leadville, TBD

> Sept. 15 – Eagle Valley Invite at Gypsum Creek Golf Course, 9 a.m.

> Sept. 18 – Buena Vista, 4 p.m.

> Sept. 25 – Horizon/Runners Roost at Addenbrooke Park, 3:45 p.m.

> Sept. 29 – Glenwood Springs Invite at CMC Spring Valley, 9 a.m.

> Oct. 2 – Dakota Ridge Invite at Dakota Ridge High School, 3:30 p.m.

> Oct. 6 – Windjammer Invite at Englewood High School, 9 a.m.

> Oct. 20 – Regional meet at Delta, 3 p.m.

> Oct. 27 – State meet at Penrose Equestrian Center, Colorado Springs, TBD

Arnold Shane 12

Barton Rachel 11

Benes Alex 12

Boyd Ruthie 9

Cadwallader Katie 10

Chamness Brecken 11

Cox Joseph 10

Cuadrado Danny 12

Curnutte Kevin 10

Gurley Justine 9

Hart Hannah 11

Horii Jessica 9

Jacobi Veronica 12

Jones McKinley 9

Koegel Robert 11

Lewis Anders 11

Mason Alex 9

McDonnell Megan 9

McGrew Colin 10

Meirow Liam 11

Miller Rylan 9

Neumaier Madi 10

O’Brien Bridget 9

Pappas Emily 9

Pappas Katherine 11

Piehl Sam 12

Piehl Tessa 10

Ramsay McKenna 9

Rennie Vivian 10

Shaw Tyler 11

Stein Sydney 12

Vargo Riley 10

Weinman Logan 10

Wickman Miikka 12

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