Bust the rust in Olathe
By Than Acuff
The week off for April Break seemed to have little effect on the Crested Butte Titans track team as they returned to action last week with athletes continuing to build on their efforts from earlier track meets.
Their fitness level appeared solid as some took part in a prescribed April Break Challenge by the coaches, others opted for more specific training regimens during the break while several athletes used the time off to rest and rehabilitate hoping to eliminate some nagging injuries from earlier in the season. So, when they got back to work to prepare for the Olathe Pirate Invitational on Thursday, April 27, everyone appeared on schedule.
“They didn’t go into the meet out of shape,” says coach Shari Sullivan-Marshall.
The proof came in their results as numerous Titans posted personal records (PRs), season best times and scored points for the team among the tough competition in Olathe.
“It was a big meet with teams from 1A up to 4A schools,” says Sullivan-Marshall.
The relays continue to be a big part of the Titans team and the Olathe meet offered an opportunity for one last round of experimentation with various relay teams as the coaches look to find the fastest combination of runners for each relay event. They even called on a couple of Titans to jump into the relay fray from their typical slate of individual events.
“We went in with the hope that, especially in the relays, they could better their times,” says Sullivan-Marshall.
The girls sprint medley team, three of whom are freshmen, was one of five Crested Butte relay teams that finished in the top eight to score points. The boys 4×800-meter relay led the way for the Titans as Giles Billick, Kenny and Sam Bullock and Jake Pendy teamed up to place third with a season’s best time. The girls 4×200-meter team of Eva Loflin, Alyssa Lodovico, Ilo Hawley and Sophia Bender placed sixth, Bender joined Josie Feier, Katie O’Neill and Ruby Pendy to place sixth in the girls 4×800-meter relay, the boys 4×800-meter relay placed seventh and the girls sprint medley finished in eighth place.
“Three relays are on the cusp of qualifying for state,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “We have two more meets to put the perfect relays together.”
Flint Hoyt had the top individual result for the Titans as he ran to a fourth-place finish in the 3200-meter race and Kelsey Clifton ran to a seventh-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles. Meanwhile, several other Titans posted PR times in everything from the 100-meter race to the 200, 400, 800 and 1600-meter events.
“That was super encouraging,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “It gave us a good idea of where kids are. Even more impressive was their mindset. They went in with the mindset of competitors. Everyone was super positive. Overall, it was a really good rust-buster.”
The Titans have two more meets left in the regular season, including the Cañon City Blossom Invite on Friday, May 5, and finishing with a two-day meet in Grand Junction May 12-13. The coaches will continue to focus on strength and speed this week as they put the finishing touches on their line ups for events, and then start to taper next week to prepare for Grand Junction and the post season.
“We’re going to look at all our information from the season and start being really thoughtful about race placement,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “We’ve been putting kids in three or four events, now it’ll be more like two or three.”