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Tigers running together to reach goals

BRYCE EVANS
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Eric Drummond
ALL |

As Summit High School’s Tess Olson explained, running isn’t a sport that you need anything special to do.

“You just need to put a pair of tennis shoes on and go out your back door,” Olson, a sophomore member of the SHS cross country team, said.

However simple the act of running may be, the sport of cross country is much more complicated.

“Think of something close to road bike races like the Tour de France,” Tigers head coach Heather Quarantillo explained. “It is really important to have as many team members as close together as possible.”

In high school cross country meets, results are based on a points system related to a racers finish. First place receives one point, second place earns two and so on. The lowest team score, taken out of the top five of seven racers per team, wins the meet.

“We want to run as a unified team this year,” Quarantillo said.

The Tigers will get their first chance to do so when their season officially gets underway on Thursday, Aug. 28, when they travel to the Fossil Ridge Invite at Fossil Ridge High School.

Starting with that meet, Summit High will begin what could be a season unparalleled in program history.

Perennially one of the top teams in the Jeffco League, the girls’ team is looking to improve off their fourth place finish last season in the Colorado State Championships.

The Tigers return four runners that ran in that state meet and another varsity runner ” Lara Silven ” that missed the season finale due to injury.

As a senior captain, Silven has worked hard early in the season to instill a team-oriented approach for the girls’ squad.

“We are training a lot together and learning each other’s pacings,” Silven said. “Even if it means that some people have to slow down, that’s OK as long as we finish together. … We will be a much stronger team if we can do that.”

On the boys’ side, senior captain Chris Rice is optimistic about what Quarantillo called the “deepest” boys’ team of her seven-year tenure.

“This season is looking great,” Rice said, also noting the boys’ desire to run more as a team this season. “The faster ones are slowing down and the slower ones have picked it up. We are running together and getting a lot better.”

The past two seasons, Rice has qualified for the state meet individually, both year’s finishing in 72nd place. Beyond hoping to jump into the top-50 in this year’s meet, Rice is hoping to bring his teammates along with him.

“We have been so close in the past,” he said. “This year, we are really concentrating on staying healthy and working hard, and hopefully we can make it

to state.”

The team’s first meet at Fossil Ridge will give the Tigers a good indication for what they will face this season, as it will be the same course used for the state meet.

However, Quarantillo doesn’t put any weight on early-season events, no matter where they are.

“We work towards doing our best at the end of the season for our league meet and regionals,” she said. “I want them to do well in all our races, but I want to see that improvement throughout the year.”

The Tigers’ schedule includes a regularly-tough meet at the Air Academy in Colorado Springs on Sept. 12 and a home invitational at the Frisco Nordic Center Sept. 27, before competing in the Jeffco League championships and Regionals in mid-October.

Until then, the Tigers will continue to pound the trails of Summit County for miles and miles each day.

“If you don’t like to run, what’s the point?” Rice said.

Team at a Glance

Head coach: Heather Quarantillo, seventh season

Captains: Rose Neel, sr., Lara Silven, sr., Chris Rice, sr. and John Willis, sr.

Breakdown: Eight seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and 11 freshmen

Bryce Evans can be reached at (970)668-4634 or at bevans@

summitdaily.com.


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