Big shoes to fill | PostIndependent.com

Big shoes to fill

G. Sean KellyGSPI Sports Editor
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson
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Current members of the Glenwood Springers youth track team dont need to look far for inspiration.More than a dozen former Springers competed at the collegiate level over the past few years, and many of them make it a point to come back and give the team a hand when the opportunity arises.I remember the high school kids who helped when we did it, said Megan McKinnie, a former Springer who won a state 300-meter hurdles title for Glenwood Springs High School in 2003. We looked up to them a lot.Now its former Springers McKinnie and Jennifer Kishimoto, another Demons state champion 300 hurdler, who are being looked up to.That would be a lot of fun, said Melissa Buchanan, who will be a freshman next year, of following in the footsteps of some of her Springer predecessors. I want to do that. I want to compete in (the Junior Olympics) and regionals this year.As teammates at the University of Northern Colorado, McKinnie and Kishimoto wrapped up solid seasons. Kishimoto took fourth in the 400 hurdles at the NCAA Division I Independent Track & Field Championships held in Davis, Calif., with a time of 1 minute, 3.76 seconds and McKinnie was fifth in 1:05.43. The two were even faster at the Brigham Young University Invitational with Kishimoto, a junior, clocking a 1:03.14 and McKinnie, a sophomore, coming in at 1:05.24. They likely wont be running on the same team next year, however: McKinnie, who prefers to compete in the heptathlon, plans to transfer to the University of Montana in Missoula in the fall.Some other notable former Springers who won state titles include Amber Sutherland (discus, 2003), Patrick Davis (800 meters, 2001), Jacob Benson (long jump, 2000; long jump and triple jump, 2001), Matt Queen (400 and 800, 1998) and Chas and Marco Salmen, who teamed up for a 4×800 relay title and now run for Duke University.Its just the whole introduction to competitive track, Kishimoto said of the Springers program. Before you even get into school (meets) even, it gives you an edge.Of course, the program is more about having fun and introducing the young athletes to the sport of track and field than anything else.Many of the Springers, who range in age from 8-18, arent old enough to even consider college track, others just arent ready to think that far ahead.I just like the feeling of running fast, said Carbondale 10-year-old Nick Seamons. Im just running right now, but I think Im going to keep doing the sport.Added recent eighth-grade graduate Meg Waibel: I dont want to grow up.And the attitude falls in line with advice from the former Springers.Just have fun with it, Kishimoto said. And always work hard, added McKinnie. It will pay off someday.

To join: Sign-ups will be available prior to each practice through mid-June; call Mike Kishimoto at 945-1425 or 379-3365; or Jill Garling at 945-8027.Practices: 4-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday at the Glenwood Springs High School trackMeets: Seven meets tentatively scheduled for the team, plus Region X Junior Olympics (Denver) and National Junior Olympics (Indianapolis) Home meets include: Local Hershey Meet, June 15; Springers Meet, June 29


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