Weekend #4 Preview

One of the surprises of the season thus far has been the Pine Creek girls, led by freshman Heather Bates. Photo by Alan Versaw.


While nothing on this weekend's slate of meets compares with the hype and adrenaline of Liberty Bell, there's still plenty of good racing to be found around the state this weekend.


The western slope is dotted with meets this weekend. Glenwood Springs, Moffat County, Hotchkiss, Ouray, and Pagosa Springs are all hosting their own invitationals. Five meets on the western slope on one weekend is a lot, and numbers will therefore be thin at most, if not all, of these meets. Durango and Fruita-Monument have already hopped the Continental Divide to run on the Front Range this weekend, further depleting the roster of available teams. Complicating matters still further is the fact that three mountain region schools, Middle Park, Salida, and Summit are each hosting invitationals this weekend as well. West of the Front Range, things are saturated.


There is no shortage of meets on the Front Range, either. Pueblo Central is hosting a meet that is now over 50 years running. The meet takes place on the old Elmwood Golf Course, once the default location of the state meet. While the meet is not as large as it once was, it still draws a fair number of schools. Expect a good representation of schools from southeastern Colorado and the San Luis Valley.


Just up the road a way will be the Fountain-Fort Carson Invitational, held on the school's campus. Moving north along the I-25 corridor, you will find meets hosted by Rock Canyon, Rangeview, Broomfield, and Fort Collins. Coronado High School already hosted a large meet today.


And, finally, if you prefer your cross country on the plains, Brush will be your host this weekend.


Now that the Coronado Cougar Classic has had its moment in the spotlight dampened by a little bit of rain (results here), the nod as the premiere meet of the weekend passes to Fort Collins and its John Martin Invitational.


Enticing matchups aplenty dot the Division I races--Pine Creek vs. Cherry Creek vs. Fort Collins vs. Rocky Mountain vs. Loveland vs. Thompson Valley vs. Wheat Ridge vs. Dakota Ridge. From creeks to ridges, and everywhere in between, there are intriguing team and individual matchups to be found. Most notably, the Pine Creek girls and the Loveland boys get a stage to continue the runs that have them rising sharply in the rankings over the last couple of weeks. Division 2 will be an eclectic mix of 2A, 3A, and 4A programs, some traditional powers and others not.


One of the big questions on many people's minds this weekend concerns who is dealing with what injuries. The list of names conspicuously absent from meets this season grows with every weekend. Rumors have some of these individuals on the mend and about to return to action while others may be out for the entire season. If you're not happy to see someone back in uniform and racing, you're missing out on what cross country should be.