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"I tried to stay with her and we hit the first hill and she was gone," said Travis Tabares.
By the time Rainsberger, a 14-year old Air Academy High School freshman, had hit the finish of a hilly course in the Black Forest, she had put all but a few runners in the field of 307 behind her.
She finished 15th overall with a course record of 41 minutes, 43 seconds, besting Amanda Ewing's 2011 record time of 42:18. But the thing that makes the older runners - men and women - shake their heads is this: Rainsberger ran for practice, to prepare for high school track, and to have fun with her friends on the Stud Muffins team.
"I came in not to race, but to just keep the title and to get some distance in before track," Rainsberger said.
Rainsberger finished the series - four races - with a cumulative time of 1:59:03.
The women's short series belonged to the young runners. Seven of the top eight in the final series standings ranged in age from 11 to 18. Kayli Tabares, 13, was second overall (2:07:24), while Claire Rachwitz, 18, finished third (2:11:21). A pair of 11-year-old girls, Chantae Steele and Jalynn Tabares were also in the Top 8.
In the men's short-course race, James Burns, 24, Colorado Springs, won again to take the series. He finished in 33:53 with a total time of 1:39:26. Former Olympic steeple chase qualifier Justin Chaston, 44, Colorado Springs, was second on Saturday (35:23) and second overall (1:42:12.)
Scott Spillman captured the win in the Winter Series IV 20 K on Saturday in the Black Forest. Spillman, 26, Colorado Springs, covered the hilly, snowy course in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 58 seconds. It was his first race in the Winter Series.
"I was just doing this to get a good training run in," he said.
The star of the day was Corban Pagnotta, a fresh-faced Pueblo West High School sophomore who finished second and won the long series championship. Pagnotta clocked 1:18:56, but his combined time of 3:57:33 was the best of all. Like Rainsberger, Pagnotta is preparing for spring track with his teammates.
"This is pretty much just a bunch of training runs for us, getting us in a racing mood," he said.
His success in the series was a little surprising to him.
"I did better than I thought I would," he said.
Brad Poppele (41, Manitou Springs) finished second in the series with a total time of 4:01:22.
In the women's long series, Clare Bar, 25, of Colorado Springs, won for the third time in four starts. She blasted the 20K in 1:28:18 and won the series with a 4:21:49. Stephanie Wurtz (30, Colorado Springs) was second with a 4:26:32.