Be it running in the pool, in the school hallways or during meets, the Steamboat Springs track and field team is preparing for the three-day regional meet at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.
The team's goal is to peak from May 11 to 13, so top results leading up to the state-qualifying meet are bonuses.
"I told the kids Saturdays are glorified practices until we get to regionals," Steamboat coach Andy Reust said. "If we don't get enough work in at meets, they still have workouts to do."
The regional meet determines who qualifies for the Class 4A State Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium in Denver.
The Sailors open the season Saturday at the Delta Invitational. The March 11 meet in Grand Junction was canceled because of weather.
Between Saturday and the regional meet, the Sailors will work on mileage. Much like a cyclist just rides to build up leg muscles and endurance for the season, Steamboat's runners will accumulate mileage to carry them through the next two months.
"We've run outside Mondays and Wednesdays," Reust said. "We've made every day, mainly running hills. We will continue that for the next month."
The Sailors usually are in the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center lap pool during workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is beneficial because it's an aerobic workout without joint stress.
The number of athletes participating in each track meet will fluctuate because of school functions such as Dance Showcase, spring break and prom.
Reust is optimistic that the Sailors will field a competitive, conditioned team by regionals.
Junior Matt Hill and senior Walker Hammond are leading the way for the Steamboat boys. Both are state qualifiers. Hill can run any distance from 400 to 2,000 meters, and Hammond is focusing on the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.
Other boys to watch are juniors Westin Cofer, Tucker Campbell and Kenyon Brenner in the throwing events, and sophomores Jake Stanford and Colby Kostur in the jumping events.
"Hopefully, Westin can keep improving, since he just started last year," Reust said. "It will be slow going, not being able to get outside."
Sophomores Jay Hanley and Tyler Hutson are sprinters, and junior Lee Wren and freshman Charlie Stoddard will run distance for the boys.
For the girls, seniors Han-nah Bowers and Tara King and sophomore Chelsea Mosser represent Steamboat's best chance at making a state run. Bowers will compete in the hurdle events, and King, who battled injury and illness last season, is eyeing the 800 and 1,600-meter events. Mosser qualified for state last season and likely will compete in four open events this year.
Maggie Kriz is a hurdler, Brittany Long is a distance runner, and Lizzie Stoll and Heidi Lord will try to score points for Steamboat in the throwing events.
Greg Long is Steamboat's new distance coach. Ken Brenner is the throwing coach, and Quint Frizzel, the former head coach, has returned to help with relays, sprints and hurdles.
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