The mountains are calling...
There's the crunch of dirt beneath your feet when you're cruising along the trails... Snowcapped mountains off in the distance... And thin mountain air that burns the lungs when you're pushing your body to its limits...
Oh yeah, the mountains - and the competition - are calling...
Some of Colorado's best distance runners are set to descend on Salida this Saturday for the National High School Trail Championships!
We've got two incredible races on tap, as both boys and girls fields look ridiculously competitive - clearly the lack of a track season only wet the appetite of every athlete across the state.
Team MileSplit will be on site for coverage.
We've got a showdown brewing!
A year ago Le Roux finished third at the 4A state cross country championships - he is the top returner this year. Tuohy-Gaydos and Szuch finished fifth and seventh, while Reeburgh, who had run with them all through the season, endured a rare off day.
This will likely be the first of many battles this year between Le Roux, Tuohy-Gaydos, and Reeburgh.
Last year Szuch led this trio at the 2019 National HS Trail Championships, finishing third.
Add 2019 Colorado Middle School State champ Brennan Draper to the list.
Where to start?
This field is simply loaded...
A year ago they went 1-2 here, with Joslin taking the win. Additionally, they finished 2-3 at the 4A state championships last year (Samantha finishing second, Joslin third.)
There's a mini-rematch between two of the best teams in the country - Niwot and Valor Christian.
For Valor, there's Lanie Szuch, who finished 47th at Team Nationals last December. She was third here last year, and the runner-up two years ago. She'll be joined by teammate Isabella Prosceno, who finished sixth here last year. Additionally, Jocelyn Millican, who will run for Valor in the fall, is set to compete. She finished 12th at the 4A state championships last year.
And the field only gets deeper.
There's Durango's Madeleine Burns, who finished fourth at the 4A state championships last year, Ella Johnson from Glenwood Springs, who finished fifth, and Cheyenne Mountain's Hope Stark, who finished two spots back in seventh.
In other words - seven of the top 10 finishers at the 2019 4A state championships are toeing the line here.
If the field didn't look deep enough already, there's Tristian Spence, who finished 14th at State.
Add two of the fastest freshmen from 2019 are on the entry list as well...
Pine Creek's Lauren Boutelle, who ran 17:39 at Desert Twilight last year, and Cherokee Trail's Mckenna Mazeski, who ran 17:38 at Desert Twilight last year, and Pine Creek's Lauren Boutelle, who ran 17:39 in the same race.
Buena Vista's Mallory Salazar will have a short drive down 24 to get the the race. Last year she finished sixth at State in 2A.
Among the many potential storylines, one glaring question to ponder is: Can Team Szuch sweep? Colin is the top returner in the boy's race, while Lanie is the No. 3 returner among the girls.
Follow our instagram account - MileSplit Colorado - and keep up with Saturday's action!