Positive steps from veterans and rookies
by Than Acuff
While illness and some injury continue to prevent CBCS coach Laura Daniels from fielding her entire team at track and field meets, the athletes that are toeing the line for events continue to make progress, with the younger runners gaining ground and the veterans posting top results.
Illness is no joke to Daniels and her coaching staff, and rather than push their runners and jumpers through it to bring a full squad to there first couple of meets, they err on the side of caution, with their sights set on success later in the season.
“We’re trying to break the cycle of sickness right now and betting on a healthier second half of the season,” says Daniels.
As a result, only 16 Titans traveled to a meet in Hotchkiss on Saturday, March 23, preventing the coaches and runners from following through on their pre-meet goal of diving into the relay events and starting their work in that area specifically.
“We were only able to do one relay and I was super bummed, but what are you going to do?” says Daniels. “On the plus side, individuals were able to work in the events they like the most and able to experiment with new events. With a small team you have lots of flexibility. The kids want the relays but they rolled with it and were understanding.”
Josh Merck, Ty Sherman and Joe Coburn have taken on the senior leadership roles on a team flush with younger athletes and all three had outstanding results in Hotchkiss, hinting at stellar seasons for each.
In just his first mile of the season, Coburn posted a fifth-place finish and the coaches now have a baseline time to work off of as they plan his development over the course of the season. Meanwhile, Sherman has developed into a strong jumper for the Titans as he won the triple jump setting a massive personal record (PR) in the process, reaching a length of 39 feet, 10 inches. In addition he placed fourth in the high jump.
“That’s a massive PR,” says Daniels. “Nobody jumps two feet better. It’s cool to see him really come into his own.”
Merck continues to score points for the team in both sprints and jumps. Merck came close to his PR in the triple jump to place second behind Sherman, won the long jump and took second place in the 400 meters, falling just .09 seconds shy of his PR.
“He hasn’t even really trained for that event yet and is still coming off of winter,” Daniels points out.
Daniels also saw her crew of four distance-running boys step up their pace in the 800- and 1,600-meters. Logan Utz, Porter Washburn, Grayson White and Lance Mitchell all set PRs in both events, which bodes well for the future of this year and in the years to come.
“They’re not winning medals yet but if you have four guys who PR two weeks in a row, that’s a great way to build a successful program,” says Daniels.
The girls are still working the kinks out as the small but committed team lines up for a variety of events to try to find the right mix. Sam Merck placed seventh in the long jump and her teammates all made strides in a variety of events.
“The girls are up for anything and are fun and easy to coach,” says Daniels. “We just need to figure out where their strengths lie and make progress every week.”
The team now heads into an intense stretch of the season as the coaches have them focused on heavy training with the meets just all part of the bigger picture and the middle to end of the season the main focus.
“We’re getting into the core training part of the season,” explains Daniels. “We’re in a period of the season where we tax their systems. It’s going to be a hard couple of weeks of practice where we just train through the meets.”