Ready to attack the track (and field) |

Ready to attack the track (and field)

Joelle Milholm
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Glenwood Springs track and field team has an extra reason not to like Mondays.

The first day of the week is hill day, where head coach Blake Risner takes them up Red Mountain or another steep slope and makes them run.

“I remember running these in college until you felt like you were going to be sick and your legs felt like they couldn’t go any more, but I swear by them,” Risner said. “Hill running is a huge part of our training program.”

Sprinters, distance runners and hurdlers run up the long winding uphill stretches. No one is excluded ” even throwers and jumpers have to do it.

“They cut it in half for the throwers sometimes, but most of the time they don’t,” said senior thrower Ryan Montover.

That’s one day of the workout plan for the Demon girls, who will be looking to repeat as Western Slope Regional Champions, and for the boys, who are hoping to add a title of their own. The 50-plus athletes making up the squad run their intervals in good spirits, however, knowing what it will produce in the future.

“It’s been tough, but it is a lot of fun,” said junior Abbey Barnes. “It will be worth it by the time the end of the season comes around.”

The team comprises seven seniors, 16 juniors, 16 sophomores and 11 freshmen. There are 12 returning state qualifiers, four defending regional individual champions and three relays with the same resume. While they range in age, in event and even in gender, the team is close and it helps them get through their rigorous workouts.

“I like track just because the social part of it,” Montover said. “The boys and the girls get along ” especially the football team. It’s a good laugh.”

On Saturday, the Demons hit the track for their time trials to see where they were heading into their first meet of the year ” the Central Relays on Friday in Grand Junction. Originally, the time trials were scheduled to take place in Parachute. With the Glenwood girls basketball team hosting a second-round playoff game at 1 p.m. the same day, Risner talked the Roaring Fork School District maintenance staff into plowing the tracks at Glenwood so the team could stay home, do the trials and go watch the game. After all, the Demons need to cheer on Sharaya and Katrina Selsor, Avery Denney and Laura Young, who will join the track and field team after their basketball season ends.

The Glenwood basketball game, where the Demons beat D’Evelyn, 74-44, went just as well as the time trials.

“I am really pumped about our girls team after time trials,” she said. “A bunch of them ran amazing times and the mile looks really promising for the 4X8 team.”

Mondays will continue to be hill days for the Demons all the way through mid-April when they will host the Demon Invitational. By then, the team will be fine tuning things and getting ready for regionals and state. By then, they will be ready to run only on flat surfaces.

“They are going to end up feeling like a million dollars because they don’t have that resistance any more,” Risner said.

Until then, they’ll keep running up Red Mountain ” doing ladders as the sun sets behind the peak.

“Mondays are the hardest part,” Barnes said.

Rifle adding pole vault

The Rifle Bears will be competing in a new layer to their track and field team this year ” the pole vault.

Head coach Jerry Shafer pleaded with school officials to get the equipment and add the event to the Bears repertoire and they obliged.

“At regionals last year, we noticed Palisade and Battle Mountain have pole vaulting and felt like we needed those extra points,” he said. “It will help keep the competition fair.”

The second-year coach thinks he’ll have anywhere from 12-20 athletes try their hand at pole vault, but isn’t sure how many will be able to stick with it. The equipment is being installed this week and then the Bears will be able to have at it.

“I think they will find out it is harder than it looks,” he said. “They have to have a lot of upper body strength.”

There will be plenty of Rifle athletes to spare to try pole vaulting as almost 90 Bears have come out for the team. Nearly 70 underclassmen make up a large chunk of the squad. The number is a significant increase for Rifle.

“I think kids just want to come out and give it a shot,” Shafer said. “Our track program here is more like a family than anything, so I think that helps and kids bring out their friends.”

The boost in numbers will add some power to the Rifle girls squad and flex the muscles of the already strong boys squad, who will be looking to defend their Western Slope Regional Title.

Shafer said he will split the squad into A and B teams, instead of junior varsity and varsity, with hopes more can travel to meets. The Bears will start this weekend, when they will head to the Front Range to participate in the Elizabeth Invitational.

“I think it is good to go run against the Denver teams,” Shafer said. “The kids get to go against some different kids and we’ll get a chance to see some of our competition for state.”

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