Titans track charges at Salida

Rattle off numerous podiums

by Than Acuff

While training has ramped up the past two weeks and the coaching staff has their athletes working hard to set a foundation for success later in the season, the Titans are already seeing the fruits of their labor as they posted numerous top results at the Salida Invitational on Saturday, April 6.

“It was awesome,” says head coach Laura Daniels. “It seems like we’re striking a really good balance between work and rest.”

The team has been in a state of flux recently with some runners dropping from the program, but the ones who are sticking around are thriving and finding success in a number of events.

“There’s been a swing in our team demographic,” says Daniels. “We lost some boys, so for them it’s been all about individual performances. For the girls we’ve been able to put some relays together and see where we are strong.”

Josh Merck continues his charge on the 2A track and field scene. Merck won the 200 meters, placed second in the 100 meters, finished fourth in the 400 meters and rounded his day out with a third place in the long jump.

“He just continues to improve,” says Daniels. “It’s satisfying to see he is making those improvements after all of his hard work and to finish with a first and second place.”

Joe Coburn ran away from the field to win the 1,600 meters with ease and scored additional team points with a sixth-place finish in the 800 meters. Meanwhile, Ty Sherman had another stellar day of jumping, with a second place in the triple jump. Several of the younger runners continue to find their step and pace and improve week-in and week-out.

For the girls, the team got a boost in the relays and carried that energy into the meet as the girls won the sprint medley relay in just their first time running it. The 4×400-meter relay team placed second and the 4×200-meter relay team finished sixth.

“We put an emphasis on relays and it really paid dividends,” says Daniels.

But it wasn’t all just about the relays, as several individuals stepped up their game in Salida as well. Sarah Bivens won the 800 meters, Hayes Freeman and Lucy Duryea placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 200 meters and Sam Merck finished fourth in the 400 meters and third in the high jump, with Emelie Elkins not too far behind in fifth place.

“Hayes improves by leaps and bounds every single week and Lucy is a linchpin in the relays,” says Daniels. “We got a lot of girls who can do a lot of different things so it’s an exciting time.”

Unfortunately, the team now heads into the April break, putting the brakes on the season for a while. How the rest of the season plays out is now up to them as they have a significant pause in the action until late April.

“Now we try to motivate them to train independently through the break,” says Daniels. “The kids we have are really motivated so I’m hoping they can stick with it.”

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