Cross country fans across the state and region may now collectively exhale. The excitement, drama, and hubbub of Liberty Bell week are behind us.
It seems only fitting that, after two weeks of fairly low-key weekday meets, there are a couple of higher profile weekday meets taking place this week--the brand-spanking-new Chatfield Challenge meet at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield in southwest Denver on Tuesday and the Coronado Cougar Classic in Colorado Springs on Thursday. After sitting out last week, Coronado leaders Dusty Solis (right, photos courtesy of Mark Weeks) and Hannah Green (left--Pardon me, Hannah, but would that be a running skirt you're wearing? I don't believe I've ever seen one of those in a high school cross country race before. Nice of Coach Hugill to pop for those!) should be in action again for this one. But, mind you, I've been wrong about what people are running at what meets before!
Also on Tuesday, Kiowa once again hosts its rural-themed invitational. It is always an interesting and scenic race for the smaller-school programs who make the trip.
As the weekend nears, the focus of attention will turn to the larger Friday and Saturday meets. The annual John Martin Invitational (honoring the late great Ft. Collins HS cross country coach) takes place on Friday at Fort Collins High School. On Saturday, the two biggest meets should be the Fountain-Fort Carson Invitational south of Colorado Springs and the Snow Mountain Invitational in Fraser. The latter meet typically draws many mountain schools (one can't help but wonder if Sam Berggren and Chiara Del Piccolo will be squaring off for the third consecutive Saturday), and a good smattering of 3A programs from the Denver area.
Other, and probably smaller, meets will be hosted in coming week by Pagosa Springs, Brush, Sterling, Broomfield, Hotchkiss, Moffat County, and Denver East. If you go to Denver East and the Chatfield meet on Tuesday you are sure to catch some good cross country and you can complete your tour of the Denver Botanic Garden locales all in the span of five days.
If you read those last two paragraphs and thought, "Wow, that's a lot of options for the western slope schools this weekend," you and I think a lot alike. Here's hoping Pagosa can pull in some New Mexico and San Luis Valley schools and Moffat County some Wyoming and Utah schools so fields don't get too thin at those meets. I'm guessing the larger schools from the western slope will be mostly headed toward Moffat County.
Putting a little pizzazz in their lives this week will be the the Alamosa Mean Moose. They will travel to San Diego to run on Saturday. I'll work on getting results from that meet. And, while on the subject of Alamosa, it was nice to hear that Lindsey Sowards ran in Friday's Grand Junction Invitational.
Colorado Track XC will be on-site this weekend at the Fountain-Fort Carson Invitational on Saturday.
Note: The cover photo for this week's Looking Ahead article was contributed. I'd like to start a new tradition with this and make each week's cover photo for this article a contributed photo. So, you are invited to take your best shot, send it in to me by Sunday, and we'll publish one each week as the cover photo on this article. I'll try to include one or two that don't make the cover within the article itself. Think of this as your opportunity to put your team on the front page of Colorado Track XC.