Six Springers running to Indy |

Six Springers running to Indy

Phil SandovalPost Independent Staff
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson

Not too long ago Melissa and Ryan Buchanan, Gretchen Herb, Rachel Orosz, Katrina Selsor and Meg Waibel were running races against kids on their respective blocks.Since becoming members of the Glenwood Springers youth track club, the neighborhood for the six local youngsters keeps getting larger and larger and larger.The next time this group sets foot on the track, it won’t be for bragging rights against the loud-mouthed bully down the street. Rather, it will be for a national championship.In Indianapolis, Indiana. At a stadium built specifically for the 1988 United States Olympics Trials. With more than 6,000 participants on hand.Big stuff for a couple of incoming high school students, three middle-schoolers and a sixth-grader-to-be.The honor didn’t come by sending in box tops or twisting open a bottle of soda. Like any athlete, each of this group of current Springers had to earn their way to the bright lights.They accomplished the feat this weekend at the Region 10 Junior Olympics in Denver competing against the best of their respective ages in Colorado, along with qualifiers from four other states.Not too shabby a performance.And Springers coach Blake Risner feels his current crop of national qualifiers has the capacity to do well at the national meet later this month.”I’m more excited than I’ve ever been because of the number of athletes we’ve qualified,” he said. This year’s group of six are the largest contingent of qualifiers the Springers have sent to nationals in the 10 years Risner has been the club’s coach, he said. Melissa Buchanan, who will be a freshman at Glenwood Springs High School this fall, has qualified in the youth girls (ages 13 and 14) 800-meter run.She also runs the opening leg for the Springers’ youth girls 4×800 relay team.At the regional meet, Buchanan won the individual 800 in 2 minutes, 25.83 seconds. A few hours later on Saturday, she, Waibel, Herb and Selsor won the relay in 10:23.61. Buchanan gave her Springers teammates a boost by clocking a 2:26.00 first leg. “Melissa gave us a good start, but Meg put the thing away in the second leg,” Risner said. Waibel handed the baton off to Herb in 2:34, a 10-second improvement off her previous best in the event. Herb completed her leg in 2:41.0, a one-second improvement. Selsor posted the same time as Herb.Ryan Buchanan, Melissa’s younger brother, had an eye-popping moment when he clocked a lifetime best 2:26.20 in the youth boys 800. The mark earned the 12-year-old second place in the event, a berth to nationals and reflected a shave of almost four seconds from his former best of 2:30.00. Orosz, 10, the Springers’ youngest national qualifier, was having a great day at the shot put ring. She became the club’s first 2005 national competitor with a runner-up throw of 21 feet, 8 3/4 inches in the youth girls division.”All six of Rachel’s throws were better than she had at the state meet,” said Risner.Her brother, Greg, nailed a lifetime best of 39-0 for fourth place in the midget boys shot. He also took 10th place in the division’s discus throw.Selsor, weakened by an illness, managed to compete in both the youth girls 1,500 and 3,000 meters. She finished seventh in the 1,500 at 5:26.42 and clocked a 12:27.38 mark, good for fifth in the 3,000.The team with Risner is scheduled to depart for the competition July 26. The club will accept donations from the community to offset cost of travel and expenses. Inquiries can be made by calling Springers president Mike Kishimoto at 379-3365.

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