RBC I With basketball season just finished and snow still melting in Meeker and Rangely, students from both Rio Blanco County high schools started track season in Rifle last Saturday.
“We are on spring break and we gave the basketball girls the week off, so we only brought a few kids today,” Rangely assistant track coach Cody Brunton said on the field in Rifle.
“It was a good meet to get the jitters out,” Meeker assistant coach Kris Casey said of the season’s first competition.
Brunton assists head coach Stephanie Kahler for the Panthers. Casey and Andy Goettel assist Meeker head coach John Strate for the Cowboys. Both teams have volunteer assistants who give their time to help local athletes.
“James Kurrash ran the hurdles in college and he helps us out too,” Brunton said.
“Shane Phelan always helps with the jumpers and we have others who volunteer too,” Goettel said.
Both teams have returning state qualifiers, including Holly Lepro and William Scoggins from Rangely and Meeker’s Bailey Atwood. Lepro and Atwood both placed at state last year in the shot put and discus throw and both competed in Rifle Saturday. Both teams are enjoying increased participation this year.
“We have more numbers this year and I think we will be able to compete in team scores,” Brunton said.
The Panthers will be led by Lepro and senior classmates Colton Coombs, along with Quincey Thacker, Brittany Babineaux and Leslie Hernandez, who all played soccer last year.
Coombs qualified for the state meet last year, along with Connor Phelan, Aimee Hogan and Andrew Morton.
The Cowboys will be led by Atwood and classmates Tala Atoafa, Samanatha Patterson, Savannah Johnson, Kala Chitwood and Jordan Brown. Atoafa, along with Jake Phelan, Sebastian Clarke, Sydney Hughes, Aly Ridings and Jordan Haney all return with state experience.
“We’ll have good speed on some of the boys’ relays and we have some good throwers and jumpers,” Goettel said.
“We have two relays where all the members return and Holly has been cross-training during the off-season,” Brunton said.
The Cowboys and Panthers will compete in Hotchkiss Saturday.