Soroco High School’s Micaela Meyer leads the field Friday in the 300-meter hurdles at a track meet in Craig. Meyer has a chance to qualify for next month’s state track meet in eight events.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Soroco High School’s Micaela Meyer leads the field Friday in the 300-meter hurdles at a track meet in Craig. Meyer has a chance to qualify for next month’s state track meet in eight events.

Soroco athlete Micaela Meyer a Renaissance Ram of many talents

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Soroco's Micaela Meyer picked up long jump for the first time just this spring and already ranks among Class 2A's top competitors.

2012 Rams track and field schedule

— So much of it comes so easily to Micaela Meyer.

The Soroco High School junior always has been a standout athlete, and she began playing an important role for the Rams in nearly every sport the day she stepped into the high school as a freshman already capable of big things.

She’s proven so adept, however, that some of that has created problems.

Put yourself in the mind of Meyer for just a moment and consider: You’re likely to qualify for next month’s state track meet in a stunning eight events, but you can compete in only four.

How do you decide?

Talents aplenty

Track and field competition seems to come as naturally to Meyer as breathing.

As an example, she is in position to finish the season among the state’s top 18 Class 2A pole vaulters, earning her a ticket to state in the event. She did this by clearing 8 feet, 2 inches at her first meet, and she did that by practicing in Oak Creek without a pole vault pit.

That mark ranks her eighth in the state.

She’ll have to choose which events to pursue at the state meet, just as she did a year ago. Despite that, she opted to add a new one this season, deciding after a conversation with her father, Blaine Meyer, and coach, David Bruner, that she might be a good fit for long jump.

No kidding. She competed in the event for only the fifth time Friday in a meet at Moffat County High School, and her leap of 15-9 1/2 was good for second place. That distance was more than 2 feet longer than her first competitive attempt this season, and it set her at 14th in the state.

“Right now, long jump might be my favorite event because I’ve been improving so much,” she said. “My dad said, ‘I think you bring enough speed you can get out there.’ … Every day since, I’ve been improving.”

She’s ranked 13th in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and is on four relay teams likely to qualify for state. Soroco’s 800 relay team is ranked fifth. The 1,600 relay is eighth, the 400 relay is 11th and after just one showing, the sprint medley relay team is 19th.

“She’s a good all-around athlete,” Bruner said. “She works hard, and she’ll do whatever you ask as a coach. She’s very competitive, and she’s hard on herself. She’s harder on herself than we ever are.

“She’s a privilege to coach.”

Finding a focus

Tough decisions recently have been a big part of athletics for Meyer.

She was a three-sport standout for the Rams as a freshman and a sophomore, excelling in volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter before track.

This season, however, she opted to play club volleyball instead of basketball, where she’d surely again have been a big part of the team.

That decision didn’t come lightly.

“It was hard watching the games, but I don’t miss the practices so much,” she said. “The games definitely made me miss it.”

She said she might have tried to squeeze basketball in had enough girls her age been interested in a club volleyball team in Steamboat Springs. The nearest team ended up being in Vail, however, and she spent the entire winter driving 140-mile, to-and-from trips to practice twice each week.

“It was a long drive by myself, but I got blessed with a good winter,” she said. “Playing there was great. I could tell even after just a few practices I was already getting better at things.”

More decisions await

Meyer said she’s always felt pressure from family when it comes to athletics, but not in a negative sense.

Her father competed in decathlon at University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., and his enthusiasm plays a big role for his daughter.

“He gets fired up when he talks about it, and that gets me excited,” she said. “If I don’t do good, he’ll tell me he knows I can do better, and he’ll be excited about something I did right. It keeps me going.

“My dad’s whole side of the family loves sports. When I didn’t play basketball this year, some of them were upset, but as long as I’m passionate about something, they’re OK with it. They drive me.”

She has a few more weeks before she needs to make decisions about which events she’ll tackle at state. The decision will come down to where she has the best chance of medaling, so at the moment, pole vault and the 800 relay seem like obvious choices.

“But we still have a few more meets to figure it all out,” Meyer said.

That’s only the start, though. More tough athletic decisions surely await. She’s already considering continuing her athletic career in college but hasn’t decided just how or where she wants to do that.

Her skills on the volleyball court and on the track should offer her plenty of choices, and speaking Friday after yet another dominating day of track competition, she couldn’t help but hope for a compromise.

“I’ve been talking to coaches from smaller schools about volleyball mostly, but we’ve been thinking about the heptathlon,” Meyer said. “They are two opposite seasons, so maybe I could pull it off. Right now, I’d like to do both, for sure. That’d be a lot of fun.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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