LHS runners begin ascent

This was nothing short of a great week for the Lovell High School cross country team, with two meets in less than a week–one on the state course in Douglas, the other on their home turf–resulting in a course record and several personal bests.

Lovell senior Colin May stays ahead of a Powell runner during the first-time-around in the Rocky Mountain Invitational at Foster Gulch Monday afternoon. May pulled away to break the course record by three seconds at 16:31. David Peck photo

Running on the state championship course half-way through the season is an opportunity most runners wouldn’t want to miss. On Friday, Sept. 16, hundreds of runners from all over the state took advantage of that opportunity in Douglas.

For the Lovell High School runners who were able to attend, it was an opportunity to put into action the many lessons they had learned up to this point in the season. Lesson number one: “run your own race.”

This is a lesson Coach Caleb Sanders had been preaching to his runners all season. He was pleased to see that many did not get “swept up” into going out too fast, which allowed them to end with a good kick at the end of the race.

Kim Shumway took this advice to heart and ran what Sanders referred to as an “intelligent race.” Unlike the previous week in Powell, where she went out too fast and got out-kicked in the end, Shumway played the first half conservatively and ended with a good kick in the last 300 meters of the race. The strategy allowed her to beat out Austin Asay of Pine Bluffs, who beat her out for first place in the state last year to Shumway’s second place. This placed Shumway at the top of the 1A/2A runners. Although her overall time was the same as the race in Powell, Coach Sanders thought the course was more difficult with one good-sized hill to contend with.

Her sister Susie Shumway was the next finisher for the team, finishing middle of the pack.

“It was a good race for her,” said Sanders, “but she has to pick up the pace sooner at the end.”

Mackenzie Jue ran the JV race and continued to be “consistent” in her efforts.

“I’m especially proud of how much she has improved this year,” said Sanders. “She’s running the entire race and doing the best she can.”

Meryk McArthur was out of the race due to illness.

Varsity runner Colin May did not compete in this race because of his obligation to attend homecoming ceremonies in his new role as the school’s homecoming king.

On the JV side, AJ Dickson was the top finisher with a time of 21.16.

“Once again AJ ran a consistent, intelligent race,” commented Sanders.

Also on the JV team, Mysen McArthur and Michael Steiner ran a consistent race and showed potential.

“I was really proud of the middle schoolers who competed as a group in 3,000-meter course,” said Sanders.

“Of this group Brent Snyder was the top finisher with a time of 12:08, Kyle Wolvington showed a great kick at the end of the race with a time of 13:20, Konnor Davis came in at 16:11 just behind Logan Hitz at 16:02,” said Sanders. “I thought they did really well considering the five hour bus ride and all, this was the first major trip for them.”

Rocky Mountain Invite

The Rocky Mountain Invitational took place closer to home at the Foster Gulch Golf Course just outside of Lovell on Monday afternoon.

Colin May was back in-the-mix and broke the course record with a time of 16:31, which was three seconds faster than the standing record.

“This was the best high school cross country race I’ve seen yet,” said Sanders. “Colin paced himself throughout the race and did not get caught up in the fast start like he has in the past. He was conscious of what he needed to do to win and he did it. This is the best I’ve ever seen him race. I think it was even better than how he raced at State last year.”

Several runners set personal bests. Kim Shumway placed fourth with a personal best of 20:32. Susie Shumway was also consistent and ran a personal best, as well. Jue was once again consistent and proved to Coach Sanders that “she has reached a new level.” Meryk McArthur was back after a brief illness and also ran a personal best of 22:05.

The JV boys continued showing good progress. Dickson came in 12th place with a time of 19:25. Mysen McArthur ran a “smart race” with a time of 19:35. Sanders felt this was his best race so far this season. Sanders was also pleased with Steiner’s performance resulting in a time of 25:59. Sophomore Derek Phelps also set a personal record at 26:51.

Sanders is pleased so far with the progress his runners have made this season. He has expressed repeatedly throughout this season that he felt they didn’t get enough rest last year and it showed toward the end when the bigger races, like the Regional and State, came into play.

“We are at the halfway point and I’m not seeing those signs of burnout this year,” said Sanders. “I just hope we can maintain this level without peaking before the big races at the end of the season.”

By Patti Carpenter