Dynamic Duo take on state once again

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Rylee Martin, Feature Editor

 

The Eaton Reds cross country team finally had a season of regular meets and welcomed a new coach to the program. The season started off in the summer with pre-season practices in the 90 degree’s sunny weather and Coach Jaryn Guerra expecting a baby boy. The first meet of the 2021 season was hosted at Resurrection Christian School and Logan Gullett (23) along with Andie Rassmussen (24) once again crushed their competition. Logan had a time of 16:01:10 and Andie’s time was 19:28:80. Overall the first meet went extremely well. Covid-19 put the 2020 season into a shorter version so the runners of 2021 got to run more races, including courses that some athletes have not run before. The Horizontal Invitational meet in Brighton, was tremendously hot, and there wasn’t much shade on the racing path. After the first mile, runners started walking because the heat was exhausting and there were several runners falling to the ground at the finish line. With the horrid conditions, it was evident that none of the Eaton Red’s runners got a PR. The Legacy Lightning Invitational in Broomfield was a great race for the Reds, with a course that was only one loop and not repetitive. The best part was that the course was also The conditions for this course was perfect with minimal inclines, and plenty of cloud cover to keep the runners cool throughout the course. 

After coach Guerra had her healthy baby boy, trying to balance coaching and being a new mom was quite the challenge. Guerra said, “The hardest thing has been switching from mom mode to coaching mode.” No challenge was ever too big for the Cross Country team as the season progressed, the runners continued to strive for stronger race times, building the team culture, and trying to push each other as athletes to be as strong as possible. Maddie Fisher (24) said, “The thing that kept us going was always getting to see each other at four to run together and then see each other PR at the meet at the end of the week.” At the beginning of the season the runners collectively came to a consensus that the quote for the year would be “We aren’t built differently, we train differently”. Having a mindset that training harder than the opponent will ultimately make the difference in races and competition- also known as mental toughness. Once regionals rolled around, all of the runners were trying to reach times that would qualify for the state meet. 

Regardless of the outcome, the Reds were still trying to finish the season on a high note whether that meant continuing to state or not. Michael Blakeman (25) had an amazing race, Blakeman had shaved a whole three minutes off of his previous time. Dakota Braucher (23) said, “ I led the warmup most days, and there were no seniors that were running this season so, I had to step up into a leadership role.” Leadership is a crucial piece in a sport like cross country especially since it is an individual sport and a team sport at the same time. Obviously the individual piece of running is trying to PR and the runners are working alone. But, the team aspect comes into play when the competition combines the times to place the team as a whole. Overcoming mental blocks in individual sports is very challenging so having teammates to help encourage and lead fellow runners is crucial. The only runners that qualified for state were Rassmussen and Gullett. Gullett ran a 15:35 and Rassmussen ran a 19:05. Leaving a week for the two athletes to prepare for the big stage, fellow teammates like Braucher, Patrick Preston (24), Sean Anderson (25), Aedy Barclay (24), and Hannah Miller (25) stayed and did the workouts to continue to push the two qualifying athletes. State was hosted in Colorado Springs this year and the beautiful fall colors really set the mood for a good race day. The girls ran first and Rassmussen experienced an injury during her race so she finished with a 20:55 finishing in 35th place overall. When the boys were up, Gullett said, “Before the race I was really nervous because I was undefeated and I felt a lot of pressure from my family and friends to do well.”  During the race Gullett wanted to stay with the top guys because he didn’t want to fall behind. By the middle of the race, Gullett faced some fatigue as he started off pretty fast, so that put him paces behind first place. Ultimately Gullett got second place overall with a 16:18 race time. The Eaton community is so proud of the Gullet, Rassmussen and the rest of the Reds as cross country as a whole had an amazing season.