Panthers harriers preparing to launch

Demby looks to anchor girls; boys look to improve

Rachel Demby leads the M-CHS track team during practice running along Sligo Street. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Rachel Demby leads the M-CHS track team during practice running along Sligo Street.

Entering the 2014 season with experienced seniors and promising underclassmen, the Montezuma-Cortez High School boys and girls cross country teams appear promising.

That said, both teams will rely on several unproven team members and thus, questions regarding just how good this year’s teams will be remain unanswered at this point.

Demby looks to anchor girls team

Over the last few years, it has been difficult to start or end any discussion of the M-CHS girls cross country team without mentioning Rachel Demby.

Now entering her senior season, the Panthers standout, who qualified for state last season, has been working throughout the summer to improve. A dedicated worker and natural team leader, Demby has high hopes for the upcoming season.

“Individually, I’d like to break 19 (minutes) on some course this year, probably Delta,” said Demby. “For our team, I’d like to see us maybe win a meet.”

Hoping to help make Demby’s team goals become a reality will be seniors Elana Cope and Selena LaPaz, juniors Julia DaMore-Rome and Kristine Candelaria, sophomore Samantha Bagge and several others.

“I try to inspire the runners to enjoy running rather than just doing it to get through it,” said Cope. “I try to show them that they can push themselves to their highest ability.”

Last year, the girls team 10th tenth overall at the Regional meet, but according to head coach Paul Koops, the team could finish better this year.

“I’m happy with what I see on the girls side,” said Koops. “I think we have a nice group with some talent and some promise.”

Boys team will look to improve

Entering this season without three of their top five runners from last year, this year’s boys team faces question marks.

Solid performances by seniors Chandler Dee and Taylor Wilson could greatly aid this year’s team in their search for stability, however.

Also figuring to contribute on the boys side will be talented freshman Sonny Boren, who, coming off a solid middle school season, could enjoy success.

“I think (Boren) is going to help us a lot,” said Koops. He has a great attitude, he’s competitive and he’s got nice turnover.”

Highlighting the schedule for this year’s boys and girls teams will be a season-opening meet in Silverton on Aug. 22, a home meet in Cortez on Oct. 4 and the state cross country meet in Colorado Springs on Oct. 25.

“We want to do our best, get in shape and get some good times,” said LaPaz, summing up the Panthers goals for this season.

Sonny Boren runs in the rain during cross-country practice. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Sonny Boren runs in the rain during cross-country practice.