Growth key to Vista’s recent success

Posted 9/13/10

Courtney Johnson Four years ago, three runners showed up to the summer conditioning camp two times a week for the Mountain Vista High School …

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Growth key to Vista’s recent success


Courtney Johnson

Four years ago, three runners showed up to the summer conditioning camp two times a week for the Mountain Vista High School cross-country team.

Despite not having much of a team that first season, head coaches Jonathan Dalby and Eric Selle made it a goal to field a deep and competitive team in five years.

Last summer, starting in the second week of June, more than 50 runners showed up consistently five days a week to train. The team, between freshmen, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity, this season has 90 runners.

Although a young team with one senior and a total of five juniors, they show a bunch of potential. ESPN Dye Stat called Vista a “bubble team,” one to watch in the next couple years.

“They have grown a lot quicker than we ever thought,” Dalby said.

When Dalby took the job a few years ago, it was a dream come true.

“I moved out from Missouri, where I coached a very successful team,” he said. “It takes being patient to build up the team but it’s more rewarding.”

He says his favorite part of coaching a young and growing team is seeing hard work pay off with results.

“We have one runner, Seth Parker, who was a freshman last year,” he said. “He got sick and injured during the season but he remained persistent and continued to run and ran track in the spring. He gives it all every single day and he just cracked our top 10 for male runners. Kids like that are always fun and rewarding to coach.”

Junior Stephen Chipman is the backbone of the boys team. He has seen quite a change from when he first joined the team as a freshman.

“As a team we are closer together and consider each other family,” Chipman said. “We now race more as a team, compete together and strive for team wins, not individual.”

The lone senior on the team, Tess Golding, left the very individual sport of ice-skating to be a part of the team last year.

“Everyone is so supportive,” she said. “I love being there for all of them. They are just a great team to be a part of.”

Dalby notes that the team has really been instrumental in growing the numbers of runners they have.

“The kids have taken the growth into their own hands,” Dalby said. “They have created a family atmosphere that others want to be a part of.”

At practice it is a whole new team then when they first started as well.

“We used to run and go home,” Chipman said. “Now we stretch, run further than before. It has been a challenge always picking up the pace and working harder but it will pay off.”

The Eagles are hoping that work pays off come time for regionals and state.

“When we sat down as a team to goal set in June, the girls set a goal of being top two in the league while the boy’s are aiming for a top three,” Dalby said. “These goals are all about the being a team and what the team wants to accomplish and that is why we had so many out consistently running over the summer.”

Mountain Vista placed second as a team for both boys and girls at the Arapahoe Warrior XC Invitational on Sept. 3, showing that their dedication is paying off. The Eagle’s ran at the St. Vrain Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 11, but results were not available at press time.


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