Young, older athletes make impressions at Springers community track meet
Post Independent Intern
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — From small children racing down the track to collegiate athletes returning to coach, the Glenwood Springers track program has lasting impacts on the community.
Wednesday night’s Glenwood Springers Community Track and Field Meet, held at Stubler Memorial Field at Glenwood Springs High School, attracted roughly 100 participants.
According to volunteer coach Mike Kishimoto, one of the program’s main goals is to promote a lifetime of fitness.
“We really push for a whole life experience of being active and eating well, and the kids love it,” Kishimoto said. “We push fitness for life, and this is where it starts.”
One of the meet’s participants was 5-year-old Xander Deherrera, who won a blue ribbon in the 50-meter dash.
“I like running because it gives you exercise,” Deherrera said after his race, already exemplifying the Springers mantra.
Springers head coach Christine Smalley said starting kids in the track program early has major benefits later on, both track-related and otherwise.
“This is a lot of kids’ first meet, and it’s a huge learning experience,” Smalley said. “They run with guts, and they are very coachable. It also improves their general knowledge about track, and it’s a big confidence booster.”
Another participant was Kellen Fockler, 22, who won the 1,600 meters. After participating in Springers in middle school and then running for the Glenwood Springs High School cross country and track teams from 2005 to 2009, he continued on to run for Metropolitan State University in Denver.
This summer, Fockler decided to return to his roots in Glenwood and spend his time as a volunteer coach for the Springers program.
“I wanted to help out the kids, because I remember how much the coaches helped me when I was younger,” Fockler said. “I just want to carry on the tradition of Glenwood track.”
Many of the participants in Wednesday’s track meet used it as practice for future competitions, such as 13-year-old A.J. Crowley, who plans to participate in the Junior Olympics in Parker this weekend. Roughly 15 Springers will be joining Crowley at the competition.
“I’ve been doing Springers for four years, and it’s been great for me,” said Crowley, who will run for the Glenwood Springs Middle School eighth grade track team next year and plans to join the high school team the year after. “It’s definitely more practice, and it helps get me more in shape. It’s fun to get an early start and see what’s ahead.”
In addition to the Glenwood Springers runners and various community members, the Eagle Valley Track Club also participated in the meet.
According to Eagle coach Myriah Blair, who used to coach the Springers program, the Eagle Valley Track Club boasts 80 members in its third year of operation.
Roughly 20 parent volunteers also participated in the event, helping with timing, setting up hurdles and starting blocks and working the field events.
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