Illness, last-second push to finish leaves Wildcats’ Seagren drained
His lungs burning and his legs feeling like they were coated in cement and eyes blurred from salty sweat, Fruita Monument High School cross country runner Woody Seagren made his final push for the finish line.
Saturday at the Anna Banana Invitational at Connected Lakes State Park, Seagren was attempting to make up the little ground between him and Mountain View’s Stephen Chipman.
Despite Seagren’s efforts, Chipman had just enough to finish first one second ahead, in 16 minutes, 23 seconds.
Once Seagren crossed the finish line everything went dark, as he collapsed in a heap onto the dusty gravel.
“I just died, I couldn’t even stand,” Seagren said. “All my energy was gone. That’s happened before, but never that bad.”
Seagren had been sick all week, and had expelled all his energy during the race. He was helped to a shaded area and slowly recovered, with his breathing returning to normal and his legs able to support him again.
“That was all I had,” Seagren said. “I thought I could get him on the last stretch because I usually can kick really hard, but I guess he was the better runner today.”
Fruita Monument coach Herb Huskey said runners racing through sickness and injury hasn’t been uncommon all season for the Wildcats. Huskey was at the finish line taking times of all the racers, and said he could see the pain in Seagren’s face as he approached.
“At the finish line he was so white, it kind of scared us,” Huskey said. “But if you have seen Woody train, he will bounce back.”
Seagren admitted he wasn’t going to be able to spend much of Saturday recovering from the tough race — he was planning to attend Fruita Monument’s homecoming dance Saturday night.
“Our homecoming dance is tonight, so now I have to dance after this,” Seagren said.
Seagren’s second-place finish helped the Wildcats finish atop the team results with 47 points. All of the Wildcats’ varsity runners finished in the top 20, including Keenan Widhammer, who came in eighth in 17:03, and James Mauch, who finished 10th in 17:08.
Finishing right behind Seagren was Palisade’s Kevin Martinez, who led at the halfway mark but was unable to hold the lead.
Regardless, the Bulldogs’ senior said he was happy finishing third in 16:33.
“I felt great until they caught me,” Martinez said. “That broke my confidence, and once the Fruita kid (Seagren) caught me, I just died.”
Grand Junction’s top runner was Wyatt Colloty, who finished ninth, and Central was led by Scott Brennan’s 17:41, which was good for 19th place.
In the girls race, Hotchkiss senior Johanna Reed won her fourth straight Anna Banana, finishing in 18:57. Reed attends Paonia High School, but runs for the Bulldogs.
The top runner from the Grand Valley was Grand Junction’s Kelsey Slauson, who finished fifth in 19:47.
“I wished I had a personal record, but I was like 30 seconds off,” Slauson said. “PR is what I’m going for every time.”
Vista Ridge won the girls team title with 50 points. Fruita Monument finished third with 100 points.
The Wildcats were led by Lindsay Hyde, who placed 11th in 20:20.