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Tristan Sager caps off cross country career with solid 3A state meet result

Bayfield senior beats 100 runners in 3A boys finale
Bayfield senior Tristan Sager (32) prepares to pass Gunnison senior Rowen Downum (111) during the last mile of the 2023 CHSAA State Cross Country Championships Class 3A boys race Saturday afternoon in Colorado Springs. Sager, Bayfield's lone representative, placed 52nd out of 152. (Courtesy of Joel Priest)

COLORADO SPRINGS – Running at perhaps the most ideal time this past Saturday with heavy snow in some locations in the forecast, Tristan Sager took full advantage of the fact such precipitation hadn’t yet arrived and closed out his Bayfield cross country career on a solid note.

Sager placed 52nd out of 152 boys runners at the 3A state championships in Colorado Springs.

“It was kind of scary in the beginning because I was unsure,” he said after exiting Norris-Penrose Event Center’s crowd-swarmed finish-line area. “We walked the course the day before, and … I felt like I completely forgot. The gun goes off, and it was like, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’”

Fortunately, the senior – Bayfield lone qualifier for the grand finale – never forgot his earliest experience as a Wolverine.

“I moved here in eighth grade from Las Vegas, Nevada, so … very low elevation. And it took me forever to get acclimated. I didn’t know how to pace myself,” he recalled. “So the first day, the first practice, I warmed up and sprinted the first two laps completely. I was like, ‘Oh, this is cool,’ and then … I was completely gassed. It’s a matter of pacing and I’m glad that I figured it out because I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”

Sager’s official time was 17 minutes and 39.8 seconds.

“I had him at 5:16 at the mile – he did a great first mile, got out really fast,” Bayfield coach Josh Walton said. “I’m not sure what his two-mile (time) was … but he missed his PR by five seconds. He ran 17:34 last week at regionals – in Colorado Springs – but here I saw him cross, according to the clock, at 17:39 … I’m really happy with that. It’s a hard race, but you can’t ask for more; he gave it his all.”

Senior Matthew Edwards of The Classical Academy, based in Colorado Springs, won the 3A boys race in a blazing 15:20.7 and helped TCA win the team title with an adjusted score-5 low of 48 points. Berthoud (81) settled for second overall in the team results.

“I do wish more of my team could be here, but it’s cool. I could not be more proud to be representing Bayfield,” Sager said. “I’ve got one of my teammates, Porter (Sutherlin), here; he wanted to come up and I could not be more thankful for that. And I think I’ve had a great career. I’m sad that it’s over, for sure, but I’m just really happy it turned out the way it did.”

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