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Coronado wins boys part of its invitational behind Georgia state champ
Girls: Rainsberger wins; Cougars second
Coronado cross country coach Doug Hugill got the most pleasant of surprises about a month ago, even though he didn’t know it at the time.
That’s when Bailey Roth moved to Colorado from Georgia and brought a lot of hardware with him. Not only was he the Class 3A state champion in cross country, but he was the national champion in both the mile 4:21.55 and the two mile (9:22.98) at the Emerging Elite classification (underclassmen) at the New Balance Track & Field Championships in June.
“I didn’t even know that,” Hugill said of Roth’s accomplishments, when he arrived. In fact, Hugill was generous with praise of other programs when he was contacted by the Roths over the summer.
“Honestly, I told them ‘We’ve got a lot of good coaches in this area,’” Hugill said. “I said that I think we have a really good program and Cheyenne Mountain does, Air Academy does, Palmer does — there are so many good programs.
“For some reason, he came here so we’re blessed.”
That was apparent Thursday as Roth led Coronado to the boys’ team title at the Cougar Classic Cross Country Invitational at Monument Valley Park. Roth took third individually and teammate Dan Egger was fourth. Coronado runners also took 19th, 30th and 31st as the Cougars narrowly edged Mountain Vista in the massive, 39-team event.
“It was a huge win for us,” Hugill said. “We got beat pretty good by Mountain Vista at the beginning of the year so we were happy to be able to run with them today.”
Eli Hemming of Ponderosa took first and Mountain Vista’s Andrew Walton was second.
In the girls’ race, Air Academy’s Katie Rainsberger took first in a field of more than 300 varsity runners. She pulled away from Mountain Vista’s Karlee Schwartzkopf just past the two-mile mark.
“It was kind of cat-and-mouse,” Rainsberger said. “We both wanted to break away and at the top of the hill I ended up doing that.”
Mountain Vista won the girls’ title with Coronado taking second.
When the Roths decided to make the move to Colorado Springs, finding the right fit for Bailey was an important consideration.
“My family was looking around at a lot of different schools around the area,” he said. “They liked (Coronado’s) academics and athletics a lot.
“They talked to the athletic director and the coaches and they liked the program a lot. They wanted me to be a part of a great program.”
The altitude has been a major adjustment for Roth, who had difficulty catching his breath after Thursday’s race. Another adjustment has been how popular cross country is in Colorado Springs.
“It’s a great thing to be in an environment where a lot of people love the same thing that you love,” Roth said. “Hearing that there are 90-plus people on the team was just ridiculous to me.
“It’s definitely a great thing to be a part of.”