By Hayden Cogswel
The cross country team was off to a flying start this past weekend, competing in their first meet of the year. The event was held at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colo. at a staggering 10,000-foot elevation. The lack of oxygen was certainly an x-factor in the race, but that didn’t stop the Tigers from achieving success.
“It was really super early in the season and a lot of people treated it like a workout,” junior captain Paul Olsen ’21 said. “But it was great to have all the guys from preseason out there.”
The Tigers had been preparing for the high-altitude meet with preseason trips to Leadville for workouts, so when confronted with the lack of oxygen, the team knew just what to do. “A lot of our returners spent the summer out here getting some altitude training in,” Olsen continued. “We had a lot of guys in a really good pack and it was great to have a lot of people running as a team and working together.”
Olsen’s fellow captain Tony Calderon ’20 placed first in the 8,000m race, with a time of 29:41. Captain Max Blackburn ’20 finished second in the 8k with a time of 30:25. Olsen came in fourth with a time of 32:57, and Adam Mahler ’20 rounded out the top five with a solid performance.
On the women’s side, Lucy Wagner ’22 finished first in the 5,000m race with a time of 22:35. “Lucy went out and really crushed it,” Alexia Preston ’21 said. “The whole race was really fun and challenging. I mean, 10,000 feet really makes you breathe a bit heavier.”
Alex Davey ’23 and Dafna Williams ’23 came in second and third respectively in the 5,000m, as the team took advantage of the mountainous campus. Davey ran a time of 24:08, while Williams finished just a second behind her teammate in 24:09.
“The first half of the path was straight downhill and super-fun,” Preston said. “The rest was just uphill, but the course was crazy hilly and crazy rocky. It felt like more of a trail run which was really cool, different, and a lot of fun.”
Despite this being the first meet of the season for the teams, this event was more of a warmup for more competitive meets in the future. “It wasn’t like a ‘hammer time’ race, to quote our coach,” Preston said. “Overall, it was just a really good indication that everyone is really fit and ready to start seriously competing soon.”
The next true test for Colorado College men’s and women’s cross country will come this Saturday, Sept. 7 against University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Rust Buster, a meet held at Monument Park in Colorado Springs.