Blog Archives for 2009
The Cat is Out of the Bag
It appears all hopes of the WHSXC boys' team sneaking up on their competition this year may be officially dashed. In the 4a boys Cross Country preview article published by Colorado Track XC, the Gladiators were mentioned as a team expected to turn heads this fall. While many teams and coaches in Southern Colorado knew this team had the potential to compete on the highest level, this article served notice to the rest of the state that Widefield needs to be taken seriously.
Besides getting recognized for the hard work our team has put in for the last few years, there is more good news to be had from this article. First, the author suggests that a mere 20-30 second improvement across the board would put our team in a position to "raise some eyebrows." Anyone who has witnessed the work ethic of our team this summer knows that a 20-30 second improvement is not just realistic, but quite possibly a gross underestimate of what this team is capable of. Second, while the cross country community in Colorado knows that WHSXC is legit, they do not yet count us among the elite teams in the state. We will just have to prove to everyone that in the future we should be listed at the top of such articles instead of the bottom!
Let's Get It Started!
As of Monday, August 17th, the cross country season is officially under way. Practice will start at 3:00pm sharp until school starts. Once school starts, we will start at exactly 2:55 each day! We will meet daily at the WHS track.
This season has the potential to be the best in the history of Widefield High School. However, it is time for "potential" to become results. Let's get the season off to a great start by setting a winning tone as practices begin.
WHSXC In The News
Check out the second page of this week's Fountain Valley News for an exciting article about our team!
Pre-State Meet Results
The start of the competitive season came with a bang for WHSXC at the Pre-State Meet at Fossil Ridge High School. The boys Varsity started the day off with some amazing performances right out of the gate. Ben Gallogly and Luke Wall went out hard and stayed strong, holding on for 27th and 30th place finishes, respectively. Paul Gallogly went out more conservatively but moved up over the last 2000 meters, finishing just behind Luke in 31st place. Robby Giese got in on the act, finishing with a huge PR of 19:10, well within the top half of the field. Behind Robby, freshman Nick Leonard impressed in his WHSXC debut, running a solid opening time of 20:43. Despite running only 3 of the team's top 5 from the time trial, the boys finished 12th out of 30 teams.
In the girls Varsity race, Audra Bergman made history by running the fastest girls time in 6 years. She finished a very solid 60th overall. Behind Audra, Karisa Sabisch and Kat Bergman each ran nice PCRs, Taylor Anderson opened the season over 2 minutes faster than she did last year, and Danielle Pacheco impressed in her WHSXC debut.
Highlights from the JV races include Kendall Swasso's very impressive time of 24:03, which would have placed her 3rd on the Varsity team.
Girls Shine in Canon City
The day started with some serious excitement--a family of bears on the course was preventing us from running the usual course. However, the bears were not the only source of excitement on the day. Running on a short course, the WHS harriers put in very good efforts in Canon City.
The boys race saw Boris Berian lead the team in his XC debut. His effort was good for 13th place overall--not bad for a sprinter! Robby Giese followed with his highest individual place ever, 18th. Crossing the line 3rd for the boys, Nick Leonard tightened his grip on a Varsity spot, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Jack Sexton and 25 seconds ahead of Josh Cooper.
Not to be outdone, the girls ran their best race as a team in 6 plus years, and brought home the 2nd place team trophy along the way. Audra Bergman led the girls pack with an 8th place finish. Behind Audra, Taylor Anderson (19th), Karisa Sabisch (21st), Kendall Swasso (24th in her first Varsity race), and Danielle Pacheco (30th) all crossed the line within 19 seconds of each other. That is the type of pack running that makes a team hard to compete with! Rounding out the girls team, Kat Bergman and Alysia McCullough both improved considerably over their efforts from three days ago.
In the JV races, Ethan Floyd ran a solid race, Eric Lewis made a nice season debut, and Alex Parrott ran tough. On the girls side, an unfortunately timed bought with reverse peristalsis in the final 200 meters kept Abi Sweitzer from making a serious push for a Varsity spot. Cassie Stringer looked very solid in her season debut, and Katelynn Zimkas had a great time in her second race as a high school runner.
Our next race is the Widefield Cross Country Invitational. The races will be at 4, 4:30, 5, and 5:30. The race will take place at the Widefield Community Center. Come cheer on the Glads as they go after more hardware!
Widefield Cross Country Invitational
On a perfect day that saw gale-force winds die to a gentle breeze just in time for the first race, 17 teams converged on the Widefield Community Center to run in the Widefield Cross Country Invitational. The course is challenging: nearly an entire mile of the 5k course is on gradual up hills, and plenty of grass sucks the speed out of any but the strongest runners.
Looking to make a statement on their home course, the Gladiator harriers certainly proved to themselves they are in a great position, without revealing their entire hand to the state at large.
In the boys' race, Luke Wall went out with the leaders, struggled through the middle mile, and finished strong in 8th place. Ben Gallogly ran a more even race, crossing the line in 12th overall. Paul Gallogly was 3rd for the team in 18th place. Robby Giese finished 4th for the team, in 33rd overall out of 88 runners. All 4 set personal course records. The Widefield boys placed 3rd as a team, a mere 25 points behind Pueblo West. What many may not realize is that returning State Qualifier David Powers was recovering from an illness and did not run at full strength. Had he just finished with Robby, the gap would have been 1 point. Had he been with the top 3 WHS runners, Widefield would have brought home the team trophy.
In the girl's race, Audra Bergman, Karisa Sabisch, Taylor Anderson, and Kat Bergman all ran PCR's. Danielle Pacheco finished 3rd for the team, her highest finish ever, and Alysia ran a PR--very hard to do on such a tough course.
In the JV races, Josh Cooper ran a PCR while Alex Parrott and Abi Sweitzer ran PR's. Charmas Lee and Sarah Bruner each completed their first 5k of the season.
The official results for the WHSXC Invitational can be found here.
Fun in Florence
Most cross country seasons see two or three occasions where everything comes together and clicks for the team. The Florence Husky Invitational was very nearly one of those occasions.
In a rare change, the girls raced first. Audra Bergman ran the best race of her young cross country career, moving up throughout the race to find herself in a fight for 3rd place going into the final quarter mile. She competed admirably, and finished 4th overall, bringing home the first girls' medal in 6 years. Audra's time of 21:17 was a PR of 49 seconds, and improves her position as number one on the Top Ten list. Behind Audra, 5 of her 6 Varsity teammates ran either PR's or PCR's: Taylor Anderson improved her time by 2:02 from the previous year; Danielle Pacheco ran a PR by 56 seconds; Karisa Sabisch took 35 seconds from her time on the same course last year; Kat Bergman took an incredible 1:55 off her PR; and Alysia McCullough ran an even more incredible PR, taking 2:40 of her old best. The lady's efforts were good for 3rd place as a team.
Looking to build on the girls' momentum, the boys were pumped for the start of their race. Apparently, so were many other runners. At the gun, a pack of 15 boys took off at a suicidal pace. Fortunately, the WHS boys realized the pace was too quick and held back. Moving up the entire race, Paul Gallogly found himself in a sprint for 4th place on the home stretch. He got edged at the line, but did bring home the 5th place medal. Boris, Robby, and Nick Leonard all ran PR's, while Josh Cooper ran a PCR of 62 seconds. The boys' finish was enough for a 3rd place team finish despite only running half of their true Varsity team.
The highlight of the JV races was Charmas Lee, who in only his second cross country race ever improved by 52 seconds, running a solid PR.
The team next races at Air Academy High School on Thursday, September 17th. This race returns to the usual boys-first format, with races starting at 4:00 and kicking off every 35 minutes. Awards are scheduled for 6:30.
Running the cross country course at Air Academy has never been an easy thing. Soft dirt, rough terrain, and one considerable hill make it a challenge on a good day. However, running the Air Academy course two days after our last race, on a half school day, with a lock-down going on at the school made this trip to the USAFA particularly challenging. It is because of these challenges that the team's results from Air Academy are even more impressive.
Running their last "split-squad" race of the year, the boys led things off. Of particular note in the boys race were David, Boris, and Robby finding each other and finishing together over the final 400 meters. Robby ran a very impressive final mile, notching a nice PCR--2:12 faster than he ran on the same course a year ago. Josh Cooper also recorded a Personal Course Record.
The Varsity girls recorded 3 PCRs of their own: Audra by 54 seconds, Taylor by 2:03, and Kat by an astonishing 4:06!
The only PRs of the day came from the JV races, where three freshmen, Abi, Cassie, and Ethan all worked their way to 5k bests.
At this point in the season, under these conditions, progress is the key word. With a bunch of PCRs and PRs, there can be no doubt we are on our way.
Widefield Shines at Cougar Classic
The sun did not shine too much on a cool, yet calm day. However, the Widefield runners did more than enough shining of their own to make up for it.
In what may well have been the single best day for performances across the board in over six years, the Gladiators gained some serious momentum and put the state on notice that they are for real.
With over 30 schools competing, the boys team took to the course first. The boys ran very good races, getting stronger as the race progressed, and finishing in 9th place as a team. They were 2nd among 4A schools and first among teams from our region. The boys were led by Luke Wall who ran a solid PR. The top 6 runners for Widefield went under 19:00 and all 7 were under 20:00.
The girls refused to be outdone, however. When the dust had cleared the girls had finished 17th as a team overall, but 5th out of 4A schools and 2nd among teams from our region. The top 5 girls all went under 24:00.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the day was the statement our JV teams made. One of the best things a cross country team can have going for it is healthy competition among the 6-9 runners for spots on Varsity. For the first time this season, we got some great competition for spots among the top 7. In the boys race, Josh Cooper ran a PR of 19:55, snatching back a Varsity spot for Saturday's race. Less than 30 seconds behind Josh, Jack Sexton re-established himself as a threat to make Top 7 on any given day. In the girls JV race, Kendall Swasso re-gained her Varsity spot with a nice PR of 23:33. Her time would have put her 5th on the girls Varsity team. Making her cross country debut, Jesarea Swasso had to deal with getting tripped in the second mile and trying to bounce back. She had been in a great spot when she took a tumble, and managed to finish strong over the last mile and equal the time run by our 7th Varsity runner in this race.
All in all, this was an incredible meet. Hopefully it is just the start of things to come!
Titan Thunder XC Invitational
At the Titan Thunder Invitational the Widefield runners continued their momentum building march towards Regionals and State.
The girls' Varsity started the day off. In an incredibly fast field (20 girls broke 20:00), the Widefield girls found themselves pulled through with some solid competition. Audra Bergman led the way with a PR and a 40th place finish. Taylor Anderson stayed under 23, her third straight race doing so. Karisa Sabisch ran her best time of the season, and Danielle Pacheco kept her time consistent with her previous two races as well. The real story for the girls was Abi Sweitzer, who in a matter of weeks has gone from placing in the bottom third of JV races to placing in the top two thirds in Varsity races. She ran a big PR, taking 91 seconds off her previous best. Kat Bergman also got in on the act with a solid PR. Alysia McCullough rounded out the girls' Varsity runners. The girls team placed 11th.
The boys race featured quite possibly the deepest field we have seen all year. Entered in the race were 3 5A teams, one of whom was ranked 4th in the state coming into the meet; the #3 4A team, and the #1 and #4 3A teams. This would promise to be a great day for seeing exactly where we stand as a team. Paul Gallogly ran a race that has come to be typical Paul, but he executed better than ever before. He worked his way up to 16th and ran a PR of 17:11. Behind Paul, Luke held on for 24th place in a PR of 17:25. David Powers ran his second fastest time ever (17:50). Ben Gallogly and Boris Berian found themselves together and helped each other through the final mile, crossing the line consecutively. Boris ran a PR of 18:27. Robby Giese and Nick Leonard rounded out the boys' Varsity, each running times consistent with what they had run in the previous 2 meets.
In the girls JV race, Katelynn and Cassie pushed each other way under the 30 minute mark, as each of them ran PRs. For the boys JV, Ethan and Alex each ran PRs as well.
In total, the team saw 10 PRs and 2 Season Bests set for the day!
On Tuesday, October 6th the "B" squad of WHSXC competed in the Rampart Invitational at Monument Valley Park. This was a chance for many runners to experience running in a Varsity race for the first time, and to step up and shine on their own.
On the day, members of WHSXC recorded 3 PCRs and 1 PR. The lone PR came from Cassie Stringer who improved her time from the previous weekend by 7 seconds. Also of note was the continued consistency from Nick Leonard and Abi Sweitzer, each of whom demonstrated that their recent ventures into new territory were not a fluke, but rather the tip of the iceberg for these fantastic freshmen!
When it was all said and done, that was the most important number from the Regional meet.
Eight members of the team ran personal records, coming through in a big way for their team when it mattered most. Eight is also the number of runners who qualified to compete in the State Meet, as the boys qualified their entire team with a 3rd place finish and Audra Bergman qualified with her 14th place finish. The boys who qualified to run at state are: Luke Wall, Paul Gallogly, Ben Gallogly, David Powers, Boris Berian, Nick Wilson, and Robby Giese. This was the first time in recent team history that the boys team has had all 7 runners under 19 minutes in one race.
Congratulations to our State Qualifiers and good luck in Fort Collins!