Another Weeked of Action on Tap

Adrian Lovato and his Gunnison teammates head over Monarch Pass to the Salida Invitational on Saturday. Photo submitted by Gregg Smith.


It all starts this evening with the Coronado Cougar Classic in Monument Valley Park (Colorado Springs). The Coronado meet is typically a large affair, 30 or so teams, with a fast track, and several teams from the south Denver metro area coming down to spice things up a little.


Coronado continues to make their presence known in the 4A ranks and should be looking to post a solid performance at their own invitational.


On Friday, all attention shifts a little more than two hours north up I-25 for the John Martin Invitational in Fort Collins. Always a strong meet, the John Martin Invitational circuits the environs of Fort Collins HS in two divisions. Like the Coronado meet, it's a fast track overall.


But maybe the John Martin doesn't get all the invitation on Friday...


Before you get to Fort Collins (assuming you're coming from points south), you might want to stop over at the Broomfield Invitational and see what all the fuss over the Broomfield boys is about. In the past, this meet has hosted 20-some teams, but I'm hearing a lot of stirring about this one this year. Maybe the meet will be even a little bigger this time around.


If small school cross country is your thing, then take a trip past up into the mountains for Nederland's meet. On the western slope, it's the Ridgway Invitational hosted by Ouray High School in Ridgway State Park--both on Friday. The latter meet has developed a pretty fair history and, though small, always tends to bring in a large school or two.


Then, on Saturday, things get even busier.


Starting west and moving east, you could take in invitationals at Glenwood Springs, Moffat County, or Hotchkiss. That seems like a high density of meets on the western slope for one weekend. This meets will likely tend to be smaller in size, though Glenwood does have a reputation for bringing teams over from the Denver area. Hotchkiss finally gets to run their high-powered new girls team in front of the hometown crowd.


Middle Park and Salida are both hosting meets in mountainous venues. Middle Park, however, has abandoned the traditional Snow Mountain Ranch venue in favor of an in-town course in Granby. Salida's meet will be held under the shadows of Mt. Shavano. Coach Kenny Wilcox promises the biggest Salida Invitational field ever. Since I'm headed over to that one, I'm anxious to see the kind of field he's managed to assemble.


And then on the Front Range, Rock Canyon, Pueblo Central, and Fountain-Fort Carson each have meets taking place this weekend. Pueblo Central is the granddaddy of Colorado high school cross country meets. It's held on the old state course at Elmwood Golf Course in Pueblo's City Park. Rock Canyon's course rolls through more natural terrain south of their Highlands Ranch campus. Fountain-Fort Carson takes a circuit around their massive high school property. Each meet should see a good selection of teams.


Of special interest in the Rock Canyon meet is a potential showdown between Chap's Keegan Vargo and Columbine's Will Kincaid. It's possible this one previews the 5A boys title next month.


Saturday's meet schedule is completed with the Brush Invitational. Not surprisingly, this one is held in Brush. And this one may be the fastest of this weekend's fast tracks. Always sizzling times coming out of this one as Jeff Marcus brings his teams to the midway point of the season.


Oh, the weather? Many of us saw rain for the first time in a month yesterday. Not much, but enough to at least temporarily settle the dust. Forecasted temperatures are a little lower this weekend and the courses are mostly of the flat and fast variety. Look for some new season-best times going up on the rankings leaderboard this weekend.