With just five days to steadily prepare for the fall season, the Olathe High School cross country team was in a race against time to get into proper running shape.
And nearly over a month into the season, it makes sense the team is trying to catch up.
“All the kids are training hard,” OHS coach Roger Carlson said. “The girls are battling some injuries so we are trying to get everyone healthy at this time.”
On the girls side, Valeria Renteria, Cheyanne Germann, Roquel Loyato and Anna Lusansky are all working to get into shape while battling minor injuries. Renteria and Loyato, however, were able to place at the first meet of the season in Ouray on Aug, 28. Renteria placed 27th overall, and Loyato was just behind her teammate, crossing the finish line in 28th place.
With a shorter season due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s an urgency for the Pirate runners to get into shape. The team, with seven boys and four girls rostered, has been running well in practice, Carlson said.
Senior Miguel Almanza, in his fourth year running, started the season well in Ouray. He placed 3rd, and Carlson expects his experience will play a vital role for the Pirates this season.
Finishing the race five spots behind Almanza in 8th place was sophomore Cesar Franco.
“[Cesar] has a lot of potential,” Carlson said. “He’s going to be a key factor for our success this year.”
Rounding out the Pirate runners who placed at the meet are seniors Bruno Ramirez (12th) and Daniel Rogue (15th). “They’re experienced and they’re running well,” Carlson said.
Germann is working to get back to 100% health wise while finding a way to get into running shape. It’s been made more difficult this year with the restrictions in place to keep the athletes safe, but “every team is dealing with the same thing,” Carlson added.
There’s plenty of work to be done, but with time, there’s hope the injuries will heal and Carlson is confident in his runners getting into shape after learning there would be a season with little time to train and prepare.
“The boys are looking very strong, they’re a great group and practicing hard,” he said. “I do have a couple strong girls that if we can get them healthy, they can place at regionals.”
The Pirates ran today in Hotchkiss, and their next meet will be in Delta at Confluence Park at 10 a.m.
Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press