Camp sets young athletes on track | SteamboatToday.com

Camp sets young athletes on track

The races were over. The medals and, at least equally important to those in attendance, the popsicles were handed out, but the job wasn’t done for Lisa Renee Tumminello.

Zoe Mosher, 8, came up to offer Tumminello a hug.

There's not really a shortage of sports for an athlete of Mosher's age in Steamboat Springs, but track and field isn't typically one of those options.

For one week each of the past three summers, Tumminello, head coach of Steamboat Springs High School's cross country and track and field teams, has changed that, offering a five-day camp for children in kindergarten through eighth grades.

An actual track meet caps the week of work, and Friday, the athletes ran, jumped and threw their best, delighting in the improvement they showed this year over last year, Friday over Monday, and even on their last attempt over their first.

Many, like Mosher, weren't ready to leave without offering a hug of thanks.

"I really like to run," Mosher said, simply.

Lots of children took the opportunity to run this week. Tumminello said the event drew 70 young athletes from both Steamboat Springs and around the region. She enlisted 20 of her high school athletes to help coach and organize, then had six of the high school's adult coaches on hand to guide kids through the various events.

Each seemed to have a different reason for smiling wide after it was all over Friday.

Lynx Beauregard, 8, has identified track as his sport of choice even though he won't have the opportunity to compete on an official school team for several more years.

Margot Schoew, 10, ran in a sprint relay with her brother Gavin Schoew, 12, a cousin David Fenderson, 12, and another local runner Novella Light, 9.

Gavin enjoyed the hurdles. Novella loved the high jump. Margot loved it all but especially the high jump, or, more specifically, the high jump mat.

"The mats are super squishy," she said. "It was a lot of fun to face plant into them."

Rae Olexa isn't exactly bristling with muscles yet. She's 8 years old. But, she has that ambition and decided her favorite events were the most physical.

"I liked the shot put and discus," she said. "The shot is really heavy, and I like to see how far I can throw it every time and wow at how much I improve at throwing a heavy weight."

Tumminello, too, marveled at how much the athletes improved, but she closed the week by reminding everyone that times, distances and heights only mean so much.

"What we do on the field is not nearly as important as what we do off it," she said.

It was, in the estimation of many, the ending of a week plenty worthy of a special thank you.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9