Middle school cross-country – where running and joy collide


By Laura Luna

The West Grand middle school cross-country team had an outstanding year. Heading into the season fresh and ready to experience something new, Yaretzi Aguilar-Pineiro and Elizabeth George made their appearance into the world of running with an eagerness and a bounce in their steps. Teaari Luna began the season with a passion for the sport carried over from the previous year, while enthusiastically awaiting new memories and growth. The girls were poised and ready to push themselves to new levels and have fun along the way.

photo credit Allura Luna
Elizabeth George makes her final dash to the finish line at the Westview Wildcat Zoom in Longmont.

The first meet of the season was right here at home, and it did not disappoint. This race was not only physically tough but has a reputation to stretch its runners mentally. This would set the tone for the rest of the season, as each of the girls dug in and persevered. With each meet to follow, determination and genuine excitement could be witnessed in each member of this team.

On Saturday, October 1, 2022, the team traveled to Meeker for a rainy, muddy, and memorable Districts meet. With the rain and mud, this hilly course quickly became very slippery. Once again, these girls demonstrated their determination and joy as they pressed in and completed the run. Teaari Luna placed 4th, followed closely by Elizabeth George in 7th and Yaretzi Aguilar-Pineiro in 10th. Needless to say, memories were made and laughter was present that day.

The last and final meet of the season was held in Longmont on Saturday, October 8, 2022. Upon arrival at the Westview Wildcat Zoom, the girls were once again met with a new challenge. With a total of 145 female runners, this would be their largest competition to date. During the 3.5K, two-lap course, each of the girls got out and went for it, settling into a rhythm unique to their own style of running. Teaari Luna led with a 13th place finish and a time of 15:57. Elizabeth George completed her season with a time of 17:59. Yaretzi Aguilar-Pineiro sprinted to the finish line with a time of 18:34. The competition pushed the girls as each received a career PR.

The end of the season was a time of reflection for these amazing runners.

photo credit Laura Luna
Yaretzi Aguilar-Pineiro sprints to the finish line at the Districts meet in Meeker.

Yaretzi Aguilar-Piniero proudly states, “Cross-country is a sport that makes me work hard but also have fun!”
“At the beginning of the season I couldn’t run two miles without stopping, and now I can run the whole race,” said an enthusiastic Elizabeth George.

photo credit Allura Luna
Teaari Luna in her final push to the finish line at the Westview Wildcat Zoom in Longmont.

“Cross-country is full of amazing and supportive people,” Tearri Luna recalls.

Coach Mead affectionately summed up this year by stating, “This year was about celebration and determination. These girls showed up every day more excited to work hard than the day before. They have incredible personalities that exude joy and fun. They created an atmosphere of motivation, hard work, and laughter. This year will forever stand out as a favorite for me.”

As for the parents, an abundance of gratitude was expressed.

“Coach Mead inspired the girls to be their best while also supporting their individual goals,” Carrie George recounted. “While the team is small in numbers they make up for it in the amount of heart and spirit they have for the sport and each other.”

Lana Aguilar-Piniero voiced, “I really enjoyed seeing the girls encourage and support each other.”

photo credit Laura Luna
Coach Mead with her West Grand Middle School runners from left to right Teaari Luna, Elizabeth George, Yaretzi Aguilar-Pineiro.

“This team is led by a passionate coach who strives to create a positive environment where goals can be met. The way in which the girls are supported and support one another warms my heart,” Laura Luna observed.