Not everyone goes out for cross country for the same reasons. Some do it to win, some do it to get in shape, and some do it to get in shape and end up winning.
All three scenarios are very likely to be played out on this year's Paonia Cross Country team. After a successful inaugural season in 2012, 28 runners — 14 girls and 14 boys — came out for the team.
"A few are out of shape, a lot are very competitive," said head coach Richard Hypio. "They all seem to love to run."
Taylor Polson, who placed ninth and led the girls' team to a second-place finish in 2012, returns for her senior year. Polson is regarded as a premier runner in the state. State qualifiers sophomore Chelsea Meilner and senior Braiden Clement also return.
On the boys' side, Jason Sturgis was the lone male state qualifier for Paonia in 2012. He could have company at the state meet this year. Jesse Reed, a two-time state champion in wrestling and a state-qualifying track team member, is working to keep in shape for wrestling, but is very competitive, said Hypio. He could end up as a top runner for the team. Wrestler Bo Pipher returns for his sophomore year, and junior Zach Milner will also run for Paonia.
Look for competition from sophomore Austin Katzer, noted Hypio, and sophomore Cameron Van Vleet could also fit in the mix.
Eli Etter or Gabe Ferguson "... are two fast freshmen," said Hypio. Etter was a top placer in last summer's Cherry Days 5k, which was run on the team's official course at the base of Jumbo Mountain.
Shauna Meilner joins the team as assistant coach. Meilner, a nurse at Delta County Memorial Hospital, recently ran the Colorado Marathon and is training for her first triathlon.
This year Paonia will host its own meet. The Paonia Jumbo Invitational will be run on Oct. 4. They open the season this Friday at the Delta Invitational.blog comments powered by Disqus