There are a few things you can apparently count on about the Polson Ranch Invitational. One, the sun will shine. Two, the course has some rough spots. Three, there will be cow pies in the team camp areas. Four, it's going to be dusty--usually sooner, but invariably later.
For all that, though, you get what is arguably the truest cross country course in Colorado. The trails are exactly that, trails. There is no hard surface anywhere unless you count the metal bar that goes across the trail as it cuts through the corrals as hard surface. Maybe one or two percent of runners ever touch that bar, however. Those who do generally wish they hadn't. There are sandy patches and tree roots to navigate.
If you were looking for something screaming fast this weekend, you weren't headed to this meet.
On top of the usual speed-mitigating factors at Polson Ranch, it was windy today (pretty steady in the range of 15 - 20 mph) and the barometric pressure was rather abysmal. So, hat's off to the handful of kids who did set PRs. They earned them and probably have even better ones waiting for them in the not-so-distant future.
The meet is composed of mostly of 5A-type schools from the south Denver metro area. Elizabeth, D'Evelyn, and The Classical Academy held up the 3A end of the bargain. STEM and Denver Academy stood in for 2A. And Palmer Ridge was the lone 4A entry this year.
Race sizes were kept purposely small to allow for the fact that pushing races over 100 competitors yields some pretty nasty crowding on parts of the trail. There are evidently a few compromises you must make peace with if you want true cross country.
It's fair to say that all the teams showing up today wanted the real cross country deal.
Next Page: Anna Swanson for the win