Although I still believe it's true that it's getting more and more difficult to find suitable venues, amenable property owners, and workable dates for cross country meets, there are several new meets on the table this year. Let's take a quick look--you might be headed for one of these meets.
August 31 - Platte Canyon Husky Invitational
Strictly speaking, this is more of a resurrection of an old meet than a new meet. It so happens that the Platte Canyon schools own a piece of property that makes for a diabolical cross country course. It's called the Rosalie property. And new Platte Canyon coach Bill Stahl never met a diabolical course he didn't like. So, this meet rises to run again. What you lose in time, you gain in scenery--or something like that.
September 1 - Delta Devil's Thumb Hill Climb
This meet was supposed to have its debut event last year. I believe the story I got is that it was rains that did the meet in last year. It's a little tough to ascend dobe hills when they are soaked with rainwater. So, Delta takes another spin at hosting this meet this year. Part of the race course involves a golf course, but if you do an image search on Devil's Thumb Delta, you'll find some interesting images that should give you some idea of what the rest of the course might be like. It would all be a lot more interesting, though, if the course went all the way to the top of Devil's Thumb.
September 6 - Brighton Jack 'n Jill Relays
Brighton takes a page out of D'Evelyn's playbook and hosts a Jack 'n Jill meet. The nomenclature may, however, be a bit misleading. You see, the original Jack and Jill story involves a hill, and it's tough to find a decent hill at Barr Lake State Park. So, we infer that it's a co-ed relay meet on a relatively flat course that has the potential to be hot on September 6. Put your requests in now for cloud cover.
September 7 - Woodland Park Run Above The Clouds
Bill Stahl, you would like this meet. It's on a golf course a little north of Woodland Park. And, yes, it does have a couple of diabolical hills. Of course, almost any hill is diabolical at 9000 feet. The course doubles as the designated site for 3A Region 2 later in the season, so there may be some extra incentive for teams to attend this one. This meet has actually happened once before, but was dropped the last two years. It's back now.
September 9 - South Routt Invitational
Having never consciously been to Oak Creek, I can't say much of anything intelligent about the geography of the course. It does, however, appear to be kind of meadow-ish and promises to be far from the madding crowd, or something like that. Soroco joins the crowd of hosting schools, and we wish them all the best in that endeavor. For one weekend, Rangely, Moffat County, and Meeker won't have to travel quite as far--unless they've already made the call for Liberty Bell.
September 14 - Northfield Nighthawks Invitational
By the time Northfield hosts the Nighthawks Invitational, most of the Common Nighthawks will have already migrated far out of Colorado. So much for the idea of a mascot flyover. The meet is slated to run at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. I've been to DSGP a couple times before and I'm having trouble envisioning a course there. So, I'll be interested to get reports of what it's like. I'm pretty sure, though, that it will be mostly flat--very flat.
September 22 - Legacy Lightning Invitational
The venue is familiar--Broomfield Commons Park. Broomfield has been hosting there for years. But, word I think I'm hearing out of Legacy is that the Lightning is aiming at a different course configuration--and one the uses more of the crusher fine trails and less of the park's artificial surfaces. It's great to see Legacy joining the crowd of hosting schools.
September 27 - Denver West Cowboy Invitational
Sunken Gardens Park is the place. For the uninitiated (like me) that's just south of Cherry Creek (the creek, not the school) and a little south of downtown Denver. I'd commit to a little extra driving time for this one if it's on your schedule, but it's also nice to see some meets arising in some of Denver's many very nice parks.
September 30 - Estes Park Longs Peak Invitational
Estes Park piloted this one as a scrimmage last year, but this year it's a full-blown meet. The aspen will have mostly dropped their leaves by then, but perhaps nature will still show up in the form of bugling elk. If a bugling elk appears on the finish straight, however, that could pose a serious dilemma. And, by the way, no course in Estes Park is especially easy. It's probably not a good idea to plan on PRing at this one.
September 30 - Douglas County Polson Ranch Invitational
This one isn't really a new meet, but it's back after a year of hiatus and under new management. It's the same Polson Ranch you came to know and love as a cross country venue, but Douglas County is hosting this time around, and they promise parking will be easier than the last time Castle View hosted the meet and that the start line will be less crowded. May they enjoy unbounded success on both fronts!
As a post script on this article, it's too late to still get into some of these meets, while there's plenty of room to get into others. Check with the host school if you are interested.