Girls second, boys third at Aspen meet

Jennifer Hooper placed second overall and Tyler O'Leary came in fifth, as the Steamboat Springs girls and boys cross country teams ran to impressive finishes at the Chris Severly Invitational in Aspen over the weekend.

As a team, the girls placed second behind Durango, while the boys placed third behind Lewis-Palmer and Montrose.

The overall team results were affected by a change in scoring because Aspen is a Class 3A school. In 4A competition, five runners count toward the team score, but in Aspen, only four runners were counted, potentially changing the order of overall team placements, Sailors coach John Smith said.

Complete results from the meet were not available.

Regardless of the scoring, Smith said, he was pleased with the overall effort from his boys and girls teams as they head toward the final weeks of the season.

On Friday, Steamboat travels to Palisade for the final regular season meet of the year. Unlike Aspen's tougher, hillier course, the flatter course at Palisade will resemble the regional course in Delta and the state course in Colorado Springs.

The Sailors have fared well on both types of courses.

"We're starting to taper to peak toward regionals," assistant Drew Hyde said. "The Palisade meet is more of a gauge at who's going to regionals, so we want them to perform at peak levels."

The Palisade meet also will provide the Sailors one final look at their competition for the regional meet Oct. 18 in Delta.

While the girls team has struggled with injuries for most of the season, varsity runner Katie Conrath said she's optimistic everyone will be fit to run at a high level come regionals.

"Smith's really working on getting us all healthy," Conrath said. "Everyone's got aches and pains but that's part of running."

Sam Tarrant said the first half of the season was geared toward mileage to allow the Steamboat runners to get in better shape, but workouts have changed as the more important part of the season approaches. The team's attention has shifted toward running shorter distances while doing speed work.

"It's good to see how the team has embraced running with each other and making each other suffer," Hyde said.

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