Tiger runners primed to show their trail speed
FARMER’S KORNER – More than most years, it will be a tale of two genders for this fall’s Summit High School cross country squad. The girls should be powerful, a threat to make the 4A state meet if things go their way and injuries don’t interfere. The boys squad, according to third-year SHS coach Heather Quarantillo, will focus more on finishing in the top half of the team field.GirlsIn addition to endurance maven Brittany Perkins and junior Jordan Cooper – the team’s top two returners – newcomers Whitney Anderson, Martha Winston and Briana Perkins (Brittany’s younger sister) will give the Tigers as strong a group as they’ve had in recent memory.
“I think this year, more than any other year, they have a chance at not only making state but doing well there, too,” said Quarantillo.The most talented of the girls group will be Anderson, without a doubt. Racing for the Tigers track team last spring, the senior emerged as one of the country’s top high school distance runners as the season wore on. She punctuated her year by winning the 4A state titles in both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs.The crowns backed up the 3A state cross country title she won in Alaska in the fall of 2003, as a junior.Although Anderson won’t run in all of Summit’s races (she also trains with a private coach and travels to races throughout the region), when she does compete, said Quarantillo, “She will definitely be the shining star of the team.”Anderson’s goals this year include making and contending for the title at the Foot Locker regional and national cross country championships, the premier high school off-road running events in America.In Anderson’s absence, the most likely Tigers to pick up the leading slack should be the Perkins sisters. With a strong nordic skiing background and a take-no-prisoners training regimen, both figure to have an excellent shot at making state individually, if Summit fails as a team.
According to Quarantillo, Brittany, a junior, is a slightly better climber, but Briana, a freshman, is quicker on the flat sections. Combine the two runners’ strengths and you get a sibling rivalry that is sure to benefit the Tigers’ team.”I think it’s helping me to have my sister on the team, because I’m always trying to catch her. And even though she won’t admit it, I think it’s motivation for her to beat me,” said Brittany, who said Briana has been the leader among the two during this summer’s training runs.In addition to Winston – a highly regarded transfer from the Green Mountains of Vermont – and Cooper, sophomore Erin Gray returns after a solid freshman season and freshman Mackenzie Jones looks to translate her nordic skiing background into a successful first fall at the high school level.Kara Springer and Amy Secor, both “solid leaders” according to Quarantillo, will serve as captains.One advantage that could help the team come postseason time is the fact that the Tigers switched regions this fall and will compete at altitude on a rugged Steamboat course for their regional meet – which decides who goes to the state meet.The change could be extra nice for Brittany Perkins, who won the freestyle nordic skiing state title last year on the same terrain.
BoysBen Holland returns to pace the boys squad after a solid sophomore season last year. He’ll be joined by fellow returners David Shaffer and Marc Miller, and senior captain Chris Marvin.Sophomore Marshall Snead and freshman Tyler Reinking will add depth and potential scoring to the squad, especially as the season wears on and both get more comfortable as they gain experience. (Seven runners from each school compete in a varsity meet, and the top five score points for their team.)Although short on superstars, Quarantillo said the boys team has been working extra hard so far this preseason and figures to have a balanced group of scorers at every meet.”Their goal is to place in the upper half of races,” she said.
For Holland, who finished respectably at last fall’s regional meet, this year presents an opportunity to lower his time and continue getting closer to making the state meet individually.He ran an 18:36 at last year’s regionals, and said he wants to get under 18 minutes by the end of this season.”I worked much harder this summer than last year,” he said, “so hopefully that’ll be to my advantage.”Summit opens its regular season at the Husky Invite at Platte Canyon on Thursday. The Tigers’ lone home meet, the 9,100-foot Invitational, is set for Oct. 2 at the Frisco Nordic Center.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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