Runners get set for season

cross country  startBarbara Lawlor, Nederland. The Valmont Bike Park was hot and dry, the grass crisping on the course last Friday, and before the end of the New Balance Invitational Cross-Country Meet two runners collapsed from the heat and had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Nederland High School runners said it was hotter than they were used to, but they ran through it.

The first meet of the season is a time to see where the athletes are in their conditioning and training and Friday was the initial competition for the kids and for the new head coach Dan Shea who is filling coach Kathy Butler’s shoes. This is his second year with the team and first as the leader.

Coach Shea has coached up to 10 teams, 80 percent of them in middle school in Virginia. And then he came to Boulder and got the fitness bug for himself. He trained and raced with Boulder Road Runners founded by legendary Frank Shorter and began running. He has competed in over 1000 races, completed 36 marathons and, including three times in the Boston Marathon and twice in Pike’s Peak marathon.

Last year, Coach Shea taught health and physical education at Nederland Middle Senior High School and also coached soccer with Teresa Bagby. He lives in Lafayette and has two daughters, 8 and 9 years old, and says he loves Ned’s small community.

A dozen runners showed up for the season. Senior Sophia Lindenberger returns in peak condition. She has been a team leader for the past three years and will be a top placer for the Panthers. Sophomore Sarah Davidson brings stamina and talent to her second year on the team. For the boys, Kiernan McLish is a returning runner. Gabe Larrabee is making his debut on the cross-country team but proved himself on the basketball court and the track field last year. He came to Nederland from California at the beginning of the year and is already a known Ned athlete. Adams Figgins returns as an up and coming placer.

On Friday’s meet, 10 teams competed in the meet that consisted of an up and down, non-shaded course that included a hill of stairs. The teams ran three laps before heading into the finish.

Lyons High School came in first place, with Ceann Udovich finishing at 20:51 and Paul Roberts first with 16:02.

Nederland Results:
9. Sarah Davidson, 22:26
15. Sophia Lindenberger, 24:15
20. Gabe Larrabee, 22:08
21. Adam Figgins, 22:22

The next meet will be against Battle Mountain at Avon on Saturday, Sept. 5.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.