SHERIDAN — The Sheridan High School boys cross-country team had every reason to believe it could contend for one of the top spots at the 4A state cross-country meet Saturday at the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Broncs were fresh off a conference championship and had a home-course advantage to boot.
However, it didn’t materialize Saturday quite how Sheridan would have liked. The Broncs scored 120 points, placing them fourth, three spots higher than it did a year ago, but Sheridan didn’t truly click as a collective unit.
“It wasn’t the most perfect race in the world,” Sheridan’s Alex Garber said.
Garber — whose time of 17 minutes, 25 seconds placed him 18th overall — led Sheridan.
He didn’t run the race how he envisioned, and he equated most of that to the mental aspect of competing.
“I personally overthought the race,” Garber said. “I was getting too nervous there and getting in my own head. At conference we just showed up, and we were the very first race of the day, so we didn’t have to really think. Just get on the line and go, and from there it’s just you and the other people you’re running with. Today, I just got in my own head.”
Garber finally put those issues to bed in the last 800 meters of the race Saturday, making a significant move through the field. That was a microcosm of how the entire race went for Sheridan. At the 2-mile mark head coach Art Baures said his team was dropping back, but in that final portion of the race, the boys rallied.
“We could have been sixth in this race, easy,” Baures said. “So the fact that they (rallied), they can bring that with them as we go forward.
That’s a good instinct. We like that instinct. It’s still the middle of the race, and they kept in contact with those places they wanted to be in.”
Sheridan’s Timothy Brown took 20th place with a time of 17:32. Garett Avery was right on his teammate’s heels, crossing 21st with a time of 17:36. David Standish and Wyatt Shaw rounded out the Broncs’ top five, finishing 29th and 32nd, respectively, after recording times of 17:52 and 17:59.
“They all had solid races,” Baures said. “Nobody had an outstanding race, but they all had a very solid race.”
Only one of Sheridan’s top five runners, Avery, will graduate. Couple that with the fact that two freshmen raced in the sixth and seventh spots of varsity Saturday, and the future looks bright for what was a somewhat disappointed group of Broncs Saturday.
“I hope this sharpens their focus,” Baures said. “That’s what you hope for as a coach is that races that are end-of-the-year races, sharpen people’s focus. I hope it creates in them a greater volition. That’s really what we’d love to see from them, and ultimately they get to decide because they are the ones that do the running and do the training, and they take the experiences, good and bad, with them into that next season.”
Evanston’s Weston Wiley won the individual crown, recording a time of 16:03. The Red Devils ran away with the team title, tallying 39 points, which was 51 points better than Cheyenne Central.