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Titans track take on Western Slope powerhouses

Aches and pains curtail titan showing

by Than Acuff

It happens with every high school sports team. Around the fourth or fifth week of the season, the aches and pains of early-season workouts start to take hold and the onus is on the coaches to keep the team competitive but healthy through these critical weeks to ensure success later in the season.

For the Titans track team, any injury has a rippling effect through the program as the team’s limited numbers cannot handle the loss of a couple of runners.

“We’re so small that if we miss just one person, it cascades through the team,” says head coach Laura Daniels.

Daniels knew certain runners were hurting and made a point last week of rest and rehab as the main course of action as they prepared for the Bulldog Invitational track meet in Delta on Saturday, March 25. Despite the efforts of Daniels and her coaches, the team still came into the meet with a couple of runners hampered by nagging pain.

“It was pretty much management all week,” says Daniels. “We did a lot of event rearranging the day of the meet to keep them in the game for the long term.”

Daniels points out that while she did have a small group of experienced runners in Delta, the team is still very young and the younger ones are feeling the brunt of the workouts. Nevertheless, the athletes remain committed to the program.

“The kids who are hurting are mostly the younger kids, ones that did not play soccer or run cross-country or play basketball. It’s not surprising,” explains Daniels.

While Daniels did have nine girls for the meet, she lost one due to an injury in the long jump and decided to curtail their events for the day.

“They didn’t do their full slate for the day,” says Daniels. “We kept them down to one or two events each.”

Juniors Sydney Petersen and Maria O’Neal have plenty of miles under their belts and continued to post podium results in Delta. Petersen placed second in the 800 meters and first in the 1,600 meters, while O’Neal placed third in the 1,600 meters. Petersen and O’Neal then teamed up with freshman Keely Olson and sophomore Emelie Elkins to finish sixth in the 4×800-meter relay.

Daniels also took the opportunity to move some of her girls into new events as she called on freshmen Annalise Chain and Olivia Gordon to move from sprints to more distance events, with Chain shaving 18 seconds off of her previous 800-meter time.

Sophomore Josh Merck finished seventh in the 100 meters and posted a personal record (PR) in the 200 meters, coming in eighth place. Sophomore Joe Coburn followed suit to post a PR in the mile and Woody Martineau stepped into the action for the first time since wrapping up his Nordic season to prove he will provide some additional firepower to the boys team.

“Woody will make for a very competitive middle distance runner,” says Daniels.

While Daniels hoped last week would serve as enough of a recovery for her squad, she will continue to work the team back to health this week as they prepare for their meet on Saturday, April 1 in Cedaredge.

“We’re still going to nurse them through things and then hit it hard on the days we can,” says Daniels. “They are the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached, though. They don’t want to quit, don’t want to stop.”

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