Pirate cross country team battles small roster

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Bill Ambron, Englewood High School cross country coach, said once again this year there are not a lot of athletes signed up for cross country and he is hoping more students will join the team.

“Cross country participation has been down for the last few years and, again this year, we don’t have very many kids signed up for the team. Part of that may be the late start of school this year,” he said. “Right now we should be able to field a boys team, but we have two girls signed up for sure, so we’ll need more athletes if we are to have enough runners to meet the requirements to compete as a team.”

The Pirates held the first official practice Aug. 12 and will practice each day at 4 p.m., meeting at the southeast corner of the field house.

Englewood’s first competition of the season will be at 8 a.m. Aug. 24 when they run in the D’Evelyn Invitational. They also will run in the Warrior Invitational at DeKoevend Park on Aug. 30.

Ambron said he expects the top runners for the boys team this season will be Chad Glover, Cole Horan and Mitch McConnell.

“Chad, Cole and Mitch all went to the long-distance running camp in Alamosa this year and they agreed what they learned and experienced should help them run better this season,” he said. “We also have several other boys who said they will run with us including a freshman who, if he does as well as expected, could earn a varsity spot.”

The coach said so far only two returning letter winners, senior Natalie Pena and junior Shawna Eldridge, have signed up for the girls team.

However, assistant coach Stu Howard, said two or three other girls who play volleyball indicated they are planning to also run cross country.

A cross country course covers five kilometers, which is 3.1 miles. Each meet is an individual and a team competition.

All runners push the pace to finish first and earn medalist honors. But how runners place also determines a team’s score.

Runners are awarded points based on how they finish. For example, the first-place runner earns one point and the 10th-place runner earns 10 points. A team can enter seven runners but the points earned by the team’s first five finishers are added up to determine the team score, and the team with the lowest score wins the meet.

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