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PCHS finishes fourth in Husky Invitational

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By Alissa Noe

 

BAILEY — Following a short lightning delay to start off the evening, Platte Canyon High School’s Husky Invitational on Thursday was another big success as schools from all over the front range and local mountain towns came out to compete on the scenic cross country course that runs alone Rosalie Road.

Of the various teams that attended, Platte Canyon finished fourth overall with 88 points behind DSST Stapleton, Clear Creek and Pinnacle.

For a tiny Husky team of only 11 runners, it was an opportunity to build some confidence on its home course while testing the waters of some league competition that was in attendance.

On the girls’ side, freshman Emma Dikken did just that as she dominated for the Huskies with a third-place finish and a 24:36 time. On the much more competitive boys’ side, senior Rilee Habermann headlined the PCHS effort as he finished 16th overall and clocked in at 23:09.

“It was tough competition,” Habermann said. “I didn’t do as well as I thought I would, but you just got to keep preparing for the next race.”

In her first race as a high school student, Dikken was pretty happy with her result as a way to gauge her competition early on.

“It helps me so that I know how (these races) are going to be, because I’ve never run a high school race, so I know how I can place and how high the elevation is,” she said. “When I go lower, maybe it can help.”

Although the Huskies didn’t finish as high in the standings as they had hoped, first-year head coach Bill Stahl used the meet as a way to mentally and physically prepare his athletes for future competitions, utilizing the altitude to their advantage.

“(The altitude) is huge,” Stahl said. “Anytime you can go down to lower elevation, not only is it a physiological benefit, but it gets in the heads of the teams we run against. They see these teams coming from 8,000 feet and already they get a little bit psyched out, so it works to our advantage in a lot of ways.”

After making his way up to Bailey following his coaching job at Littleton High School, Stahl has had to alter his coaching style to fit the unique needs of the tall mountain town, even as it sometimes works against him.

“The key (to workouts) all the time is ‘Live high and train low,’ so unfortunately we live high and train high, so you actually have to make adjustments to the training,” Stahl said. “I used to coach at the lower elevation, and you could do a lot more speed work, for instance. With these kids, you can’t do a lot of speed work, and you also have to give them a little rest in between, so there’s a little bit that is disadvantageous about being up here as well.”

But as he still works out the details with training his team, Stahl said he’s not worried about the results of the meet, asserting that it will all work out once his runners find their mold.

“I’m looking for them to buy into my training,” he said. “So far, they’ve been great. This is a team that’s very together, really tight. ...Once they buy into the hard training that we’re going to do, I’m hoping they can see — especially in a meet like this where we see some of our league rivals — that we ought to be able to rise to at least the top quarter of this conference, if not even looking at a league title possibly.”