Springers experience success | PostIndependent.com

Springers experience success

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Glenwood Springers Anna Gauldin and Ryan Buchanan had to shift gears from what they’re used to at last month’s Colorado Junior Olympics meet in Aurora.

That’s because the Glenwood Springs High School sophomores-to-be were competing in events they don’t encounter in prep circles.

But that didn’t keep them from success.

Gauldin ran to a third-place finish in the girls intermediate 400-meter hurdles (1 minute, 16.05 seconds) and Buchanan won the boys intermediate 2,000 steeplechase (7:11).

The performances qualified the Glenwood Springers youth track club duo in the July 10-13 Junior Olympic Region 10 meet in Glendale, Ariz. Neither is making the trip to sweltering-hot Phoenix because the meet’s timing conflicts with family vacations.

Regardless, the Springers’ accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed.

“It’s good exposure,” Springers head coach Crystal Garrison said. “It’s huge, for sure. Unfortunately, they don’t get to go.”

While the events were new to Gauldin and Buchanan, each possesses a skill set that translates. Especially Gauldin, who competes in the 100 and 300 hurdles in high school.

She just had to run a little farther and jump a few more hurdles than she’s used to.

“It was challenging,” said Gauldin, who started running track in the eighth grade. “You have to give it a lot. This was my first time at Junior Olympics. It was a new experience.”

A soccer player growing up, Gauldin has always been blessed with speed. That’s what pushed her toward track in the first place.

“I was always playing defense and I’d outrun all the girls,” she recalled. “I decided to try track in eighth grade and I loved it.”

Gauldin’s love of running as fast as possible steered her toward sprints once she did embrace track.

“Nothing over 400,” she said of her event preferences. “I just don’t enjoy [distance events]. I like going as fast as I can.”

It’s no wonder she didn’t have any issues tackling the 400 hurdles.

Buchanan, a distance runner for the high school team, had a bit more to adjust to in tackling the steeplechase ” like contending with barriers and water pits.

“I thought it’d be harder than it was,” he said. “It was fun.”

The Junior Olympics ladder isn’t unfamiliar to Buchanan. He’s done it all before, advancing from state to regionals and nationals a few summers back.

“It’s fun to go all the way through,” said Buchanan, who’s participated in track and cross country for several years.

The sophomore’s had success running at every level, including high school. He qualified for the state cross-country meet last fall and was a big contributor to the Demons’ track team in the spring.

Steeplechase’s distance factor fit right into Buchanan’s strength. Don’t be surprised if he gravitates toward the event again in future summers.

“It was definitely worth it,” he said. “You just run out and jump and hopefully don’t catch your leg and fall.”

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