Trio of Tigers ready for state XC meet
Charlie Medina was a little overwhelmed last year.
He was one of nearly 200 boys racing in the Class 5A state cross country championships in his first year in cross country.
“It was real intimidating,” Medina said. “It was my first year of cross country and I didn’t know what to expect.”
The sophomore placed 84th in 17 minutes, 51 seconds.
Nearly one year later, the Grand Junction High School junior isn’t intimidated anymore.
In fact, he is confident he will finish strong in the Class 5A State Championships on Saturday morning at Arapahoe Fairgrounds in Aurora.
Charlie hopes to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers, Richard and Martin Medina, who each placed in the top three at state by their senior year.
“When I was a kid, I’d go to their meets and it looked like fun,” Medina said. “They push me every day to go faster.”
“I hope to get in the top 20,” Medina said.
Grand Junction sophomores Trinity Simmons and Greg Eccher are running in the state meet for the first time like Medina did last year.
“I was kind of surprised I made it to state (this year),” Simmons said. “I’m happy. I’ve improved a lot.”
Simmons trained more this summer to prepare for this season and credited competing in girls swimming last winter to stay in shape.
She has no more expectations than doing her best.
Eccher was motivated to qualify for state this year after falling short last season.
“Last year, I felt like I should’ve made it,” Eccher said. “This year, I made sure I practiced over the summer.”
Although Eccher didn’t compete in state last year, he watched the meet and is confident he can finish high.
“Charlie pushes me every day to be better,” Eccher said. “I hope to get in the top 20 and try my best.”
Grand Junction coach Mallory Schmalz wasn’t surprised all three qualified for state.
“This crew was there (for summer training),” she said. “If we weren’t running together, they were running on their own. It definitely paid off.
“They are really hard workers. They push each other in practice and in races.”
Fruita Monument’s Kyler Brown and Chuck Bisbee are eager to place high.
“Both of them ran in the pre-state meet and know the course well,” Fruita coach Herb Huskey said. “They have high expectations.”
Brown, who placed 55th in 17:31 last year at state, made it a second year in a row despite dealing with shin splints.
“As a runner, he’s concerned, but it’s not like he hasn’t been running,” Huskey said. “I told him he’s been running and training through the roof and that week off was good for him.”