Jared Roberts trying to be 1st boy state qualifier since 2009; Aubrey Till, Amanda Tappe looking to get back
 
 

 

Tiger cross country runners warm up Wednesday during practice. Cañon City s season starts Friday in Colorado Springs. (Jeff Shane/ Daily Record)
Tiger cross country runner Katie Romano warms up with teammates Wednesday during practice. Romano is one of the seven varsity girl runners for CCHS. (Jeff Shane/ Daily Record)
 
Jared Roberts is feeling the pressure. The Cañon City Tigers senior is the only boy who has run cross country for four years and is the top male runner on the team.

Since Cañon City's boys team failed to qualify anyone to state since 2009 when Tabor Stevens and Loren Javernick went, Roberts is taking it upon himself to make sure that doesn't happen again.

"It's kind of a last chance shot type thing, the last chance to do it," Roberts said. "I think it's going to motivate me. ... It would be great."

In 2009 when Stevens and Javernick qualified, Roberts was the only freshman boy on the team. Roberts said as the only fourth-year boy, he thinks of himself as a leader and said, "It'd be great to push the team to see where I can get them to go.

"I think with hard enough work, I'll be able to (qualify)."

He'll be joined by Alex Knoedler, Mason McClaugherty, Sawyer Versaw, Brandon Trujillo, Jordan Snyder and Brett Kraft.

Tigers coach Marcy Epperson said she's hoping to have full teams qualify for state. For that to happen, teams need to place in the top five at regionals.

The girls team is in a different boat. Sophomore Aubrey Till and senior Amanda Tappe are looking to qualify for state for the second year in a row. Till took fourth place last year and Tappe took 98th out of 168.

"I've just got a better picture of what everybody else is doing and I've kind of changed my workouts," Till said. "I think it's kind of amazing because last year I wasn't at the volume everyone else was at, so I'm really excited for this year because I've been doing a lot more ... upping my intervals."

Instead of doing four 1,000-meter intervals like last year, Till said she's doing eight.

"She's running smarter and she's running more efficiently," Epperson said. "I think last year for her it was kind of, 'Hey, let's see what I've got, what I can do,' and now because of the year she's really matured into a well-developed all-around athlete."

Two of the three girls who beat Till last year graduated. Now a junior, Niwot's Elise Cranny took second place last year.

As a junior last year, Tappe said she was just happy to qualify for state. After she qualified, everything else was a bonus.

She said she wants to make it back this year and her goal is to run somewhere around a 20:05. That time would've placed her 14th at state last year. Her personal best in 2011 was a 20:58 and at state she ran a 21:50.

Other girls on the current varsity lineup are Anna Goodin, Riley Valentine, Katie Romano, Nicole Loper and Jessica Loper.

The season will start at 4 p.m. Friday at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. It'll be held at the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center, the same place as the state meet will be on Oct. 27.

Sports Editor Brandon Hopper can be reached at 276-7644 or facebook.com/CCDRsports.