Glenwood Springers program is back |

Glenwood Springers program is back

Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Glenwood Springs High School sophomore Anna Gauldin runs through drills with Glenwood Springers Track Club on Thursday afternoon. The club is returning to action this summer after a two year break. (Chad Spangler/ Post Indpendent)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Glenwood Springers Track Club is back.

For the first summer since 2005, the track at Glenwood Springs High School is full of athletes. Not just for one week or one meet, but four times a week for two months.

After a two-year hiatus, sprinters, distance runners, hurdlers and jumpers ages 8-18 are back training with the program. It is the first week of practice and new head coach Crystal Garrison says she’s encouraged by the turnout so far.

“We have about 30 now but more kids are signing up every day. It’s exciting,” said the former Moffat County High School track and field athlete and coach (in California as well as Basalt High School). “It is going really, really well now. We are getting quite a few kids, quite a few different age groups. I am pretty happy with it.”

In 2006, the Springers were forced to cancel their season because 10-year head coach Blake Risner stepped down and another coach couldn’t be found. In 2007 long-time assistant Mike Kishimoto, who is still a current assistant, had decided to run the program, but construction at the school made it impossible because the football field and track were closed.

Two years ago, Risner and Kishimoto put on a one-week camp for the Springers, but the kids running on Wednesday said they were pleased the program has returned to it’s full length.

“I am glad it’s back,” said 11-year-old Justin Bosco. “I was here in 2006. It wasn’t the big, long one like this, it was only a week.”

This season, the Springers have five regular season meets slated including their own home meet on June 27 at Glenwood Springs High School. The first big team meet Glenwood will compete in will be June 14 in Fort Collins.

They will then go to the Colorado Junior Olympics on June 21-22 in Aurora, where top three finishers in each event will qualify for Region X Junior Olympics in Glendale, Ariz., July 10-13. There, qualifying Springers will try to go one step further with goals of making it to the National Junior Olympics in Omaha, Neb. July 22-27.

First things first, Garrison and a handful of assistants/participants who happen to be track and field athletes at Glenwood Springs High School, are trying to teach the younger kids about each event, how to have correct form and even how to live healthier lives.

On Wednesday, Garrison, who is also a teacher at Basalt High School, was introducing the Springers to hurdles and explaining how relays work. When it comes to hurdles, there is no better place to learn than the Glenwood track ” a place that has cultivated two high school hurdling state champions (Jennifer Kishimoto and Megan McKinnie) and five state-qualifying hurdlers this year alone.

Taylor Goodstein, a longtime Springer and one of the five Demon hurdlers to qualify for state this season, is one of the high school assistants on hand to help Garrison and compete in meets. Goodstein, who will be a junior next year, was thrilled the Springers returned so she can pass on some knowledge of her favorite event.

“I am really excited. I have been waiting for this forever. I love hurdling. I started hurdling when I was their age, I was in fifth grade,” she said. “It is really difficult. Everybody falls. Most little kids are scared of hurdling and they don’t ever try it and I’m like, ‘You don’t know what you are missing.’ It is so much fun.”

There was a good chunk of hurdling volunteers ready to give them a go on Wednesday, including Bosco who competed in the event during the Springers camp in 2006.

“I am going to do hurdles. Three years ago I did the hurdles and I won (at the end of the week meet),” he said. “It’s not too hard once you get the hang of it.”

The Springers will continue to hit the track every week, Monday through Thursday from 4-6 p.m. for training with hopes of getting the program back to where it was when Risner was at the helm. In his 10 years, one or more athletes each year qualified for the United States Junior Olympics meet.

More importantly, it gives kids a chance to get out and learn the importance of living a physically active life and an opportunity to have some fun along the way.

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