Monticello runners open with solid performance
by Haley Burton
I don’t know about you, but August came around much too quickly this year. August is hectic at our house.
It’s usually spent searching Amazon or myriad online stores for school clothes, figuring how to send back clothes that didn’t fit, and making a last-minute trip to Grand Junction to have everything for the new school year.
The end of summer is always bittersweet. It’s hard to let go of the carefree days of summer but it’s always nice to get into a routine.
Some routines take a little time to get back into – earlier bedtimes, earlier wake-up times, and homework.
Other routines make my heart happy – smelling a waxed gym floor while watching volleyball; feeling the breeze on my face at football games; and hearing the gunshot at the start of a cross country race.
The start of high school sports is a good way to end the summer.
The Monticello Buckaroo cross country team began the new season in Dolores, CO at the Boggy Draw Bear Chase hosted by the Dolores Bears on August 19.
The girls team consists of four returning juniors but was missing Lilli Burton for the season opener. Unfortunately three runners aren’t enough to muster a team score, but the Lady Bucks still showed great effort with two in the top ten.
Marah Long led the team with an eighth-place 23:16. Just under minute later, Ayla Carling crossed the finish line in ninth place. Alexis Bailey finished 30th overall in 29:31.
“The first race of the season is always one of the harder races,” commented Carling after the completion of the race. “I feel like I completely forget how to run and as soon as the gun goes off I have to put everything together and remember what it’s like to run and race.
“Yet I feel like it’s also one of the most rewarding,” she continued. “It shows that long and hard summer running pays off. The race at Dolores was a super fun race, yet extremely challenging.
“Not only was the course a challenge with hills and rough terrain, the weather was not in our favor. It felt like a slap in the face reminding us all that we have so much work to do this season.
“This upcoming season will be difficult,” said Carling. “The girls team only has four runners and you need four to score at state.
“So all of us need to be paying attention to injuries, sickness, and motivation. Even just one more runner could deeply affect our team and [increase] our chances of winning state.”
The Monticello boys varsity cross country team ran seven deep at the Boggy Draw Bear Chase even though they were also missing a few of their returning varsity runners.
That allowed a trio of freshmen to start their high school running career on the varsity team. Senior Jesse Pettit led the Buckaroos in 14th place, completing the tough 5k course in 20:00.
Fellow senior Curtis Bunker got 20th overall with a time of 20:33. Junior Kaden Pehrson finished 24th in 21:21. Freshman Lander Hart led the MHS newcomers in 57th with a time of 26:06.
Freshman Charlie Welch was 60th, crossing the line in 26:47. Freshman McKay Nielson was a minute behind Welch, claiming 62nd. The Monticello boys took fifth overall.
In the words of Kaden Pehrson, “We have had high expectations for the season all summer long and have been eager to get a race under our belts.
“It wasn’t a perfect race by any means but a great start that hopefully can carry the girls and boys teams all the way to October and make a splash at Rose Park.”
The Buckaroos head to Cedar City this Saturday, August 26 for the Southern Utah University High School Invitational. The race begins at 8 a.m.