Times Staff Writer
GHS Cross Country — From barely making the top 15, to finishing in the top three.
That’s the story of Gunnison High School (GHS) cross country runner Alex Baca, who has shown significant improvement from his freshman year last season.
So far during the 2018 season, Baca finished second at the Devil’s Thumb Hill Climb and third at the Grand Junction Tiger Invitational. In comparison, Baca finished 15th and 14th, respectively, last season at those two invitationals.
“I did a lot of hard training over the summer,” said Baca, who also finished second in Tuesday’s Buena Vista Invitational. “I put in tons and tons of mile, stayed healthy, ate well and slept well.”
Over the summer, Baca focused on core and hip workouts, while running a minimum of five-and-a-half miles a day. Additionally, on “long days” Baca ran 10-plus miles.
“With all the training I did over the summer, I expected to be where I’m at this time of the year,” stated Baca.
On Saturday, the Cowboys hosted the Mountaineer/Cowboy Invitational, with 137 runners toeing the starting line. While Baca didn’t finish in the top three like in previous races, he still earned his way into the top 10.
“It went really well,” said Baca. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best race, but I would rate it a seven out of 10.”
Midway through the race, Baca felt nauseous and had to stop, which added 30 seconds to his time. That additional time resulted in the Cowboy runner finishing eighth with a time of 17:14.55.
If not for the 30-second stall, he would of finished fourth behind teammate Colton Sitce, who earned third with a time of 16:32.85.
Last season at the Mountaineer/Cowboy Invitational Baca finished 29th in a time of 19:22.00.
“I think I need to work on my diet next time,” said Baca. “I think I just ate just too big of a breakfast.”
With the success Baca has had thus far in his sophomore season, it is no surprise that he is hoping for a top 15 finish at state.
GHS will be back on the track Saturday, Sept. 29, heading to Crested Butte for the Crested Butte Titan Invitational.
(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
MOUNTAINEER/COWBOY INVITATIONAL (SEPT. 15)
> As a whole boys finished fourth, while girls finished in third.
> Aulea Rollins finished seventh with a time of 21:02.83, two places better than last year’s ninth place.
> Ivy Pelletier finished ninth with a time of 21:16.11.
BUENA VISTA INVITATIONAL (SEPT. 18)
> Colton Stice led the way for the Cowboys, finishing first in 17:03.78.
> Alex Baca finished second with a time of 17:34.56.
> Brennan Stice and Braydon O’Neil finished fourth and seventh, respectively.
> Ivy Pelletier finished second with a time of 21:56.17.
> Annelise Pelletier and Aulea Rollins finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
> Esperenza Antonarez finished seventh with a time of 23:21.23.
> As a whole, both boys and girls finished in first place.