“They really took ownership of doing the Montrose meet”
by Than Acuff
With the school year now over, coach Mitchell Robertson wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his athletes as the track and field season continues. One meet in particular hung in the balance as the Montrose Invitational Friday, June 4 fell right as kids were wrapping up their final exams and bringing the school year to a close.
As a result, Robertson left it up to the athletes to decide what they wanted to do about Montrose and, in the end, several of them buckled down, got their exams done, got the training in and were on board for the Montrose meet.
“They made it happen,” says Robertson. “They really took ownership of doing the Montrose meet.”
The decision paid off in spades in the end as Robertson saw the kids continue on an upward trajectory bringing their increased training regimen the past three weeks to the track that day in Montrose.
“The past three weeks we started significantly more weight training and effort and I was expecting to see more personal records (PR) with that,” says Robertson. “Eighty-five percent of the team PR’d which was amazing. It kind of all just went to plan.”
While the lion share of that success came from their training, Robertson also believes that the level of competition at the Montrose Invitational played a part as the meet attracts far bigger programs from other divisions.
“I try to get them competing with opponents from out of the division as much as possible as we start to peak,” says Robertson.
In addition to the PR efforts, the Titans also had some notable results on the board among the bigger schools.
Ruby Pendy had the top individual running result placing sixth in the 1600-meters. India Nornes placed seventh in the 400-meters, Ellie Duryea took eighth in the 300-meter hurdles and Sam Merck jumped into fourth in the high jump while Hayes Freeman placed seventh in the long jump.
But the story of the day came from the girls’ 4×200-meter relay team. Merck, Duryea, Freeman and Nornes teamed up to run to a second place finish among the bigger teams.
“They dropped a significant amount of time which is crazy,” says Robertson.
Davis McNeill had the top result among the Titan boys placing sixth in the 400-meter race.
Robertson now has 12 athletes sticking to training with a meet in Salida and then the state championships June 24-26.
“They’re really showing drive and commitment to get better, even some that aren’t in the running for the state meet,” says Robertson.
Currently the Titans have two relay teams in the top 16 statewide to qualify for the state meet as well as Pendy in the mile and Connor Williams qualified in both the 800-meters and the mile. Meanwhile, others are close to that top 16 spot and so they’re headed to Salida the week before the state championships looking to punch their tickets to the big show.
“Obviously it’s not ideal to do that meet the week prior but with the weird schedule this year, we just roll with it,” says Robertson. “My goal is to get as many kids to state as possible.”