Phelan/Alexander Invitational today |

Phelan/Alexander Invitational today

Chris Freud
Daily file photo Pat Phelan, left, doles out his discus expertise to Battle Mountain athletes. Today's Phelan/Alexander Invitational honors the longtime teacher and coach aas well as pole-vaulting guru Charlie Alexander.

In his younger and more vulnerable years, longtime Battle Mountain teacher and coach Pat Phelan managed to light his mustache on fire – we’ll spare you the details. And, Phelan believes that local pole-vaulting coach Charlie Alexander “looks like Q-tip.”

And, despite all of this, these two men have a track meet named after them. The Second annual Phelan/Alexander Invitational takes place today starting at 9 a.m., at Battle Mountain High School.

The jokes may fly anytime these two are mentioned, but they are track icons in this county and so the former Battle Mountain Invitational, now run by Vail Christian, appropriately honors these two men.

“Both of them exemplify integrity every day,” Saints track coach Bob Isbell said. “Truthfully, I don’t know how much more you can say about Pat. Pat’s been in the valley for 30 years and track is just one small part of what he has contributed to the area.

“Charlie is the same thing. His enthusiasm for the sport of pole vaulting is amazing.”

Or as Phelan puts it: “He’s a heck of coach. He’s just a Texas boy. He’ll work with any kid and the kid’s going to work for him. That’s Charlie’s way.”

Phelan has taught at Battle Mountain High School for 30-plus years. He has coached generations of Huskies in football, wrestling and track and is likely one of the one of the county’s biggest mentor figures as a teacher.

Alexander is simply the guru of pole vaulting on the Western Slope. He technically is a Battle Mountain coach, but if you’re a kid who wants to pole vault, just go to Charlie. Alexander has coached kids from Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Delta and West Grand, just to name a few.

Twelve schools will gather today for the Phelan/Alexander – the host Saints, Basalt, Battle Mountain, Crested Butte, Debeque, Eagle Valley’s JV, Soroco, Hayden, Summit, Lake County, North Park and West Grand – and it should be a dandy of a meet.

“It’s fun,” Isbell said. “It’s good to be able to have a meet in your hometown where people can come out and watch you and all the talented athletes who are going to be there.”

The Saints hope to be rude hosts – on the oval and the field, that is. The Vail Christian girls’ team packs a wallop. As Isbell calls them, “The Iron Horses’ are Leslie Peterson and Rachel Glandorf. Peterson is competing in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. Glandorf will be in the 800.

Molly McGee hits the lane in the pole vault and is making her 3200 debut. Katie Russ is starting in the 200 and the 400. Brittany Wright awaits the 400 gun. Jessica Navin and Kaley Hagerman are both vaulting as well. Freshman Nevin holds the school record in the pole vault with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches.

And then there are the relay teams:

n 400 – Russ, McGee, Karlie Peterson and Amanda Larson

n 800 – Russ, McGee, Wright and Larson

n 1600 – Wright, Larson, Glandorf and Leslie Peterson.

“We’re not fully placed in all the events,” Isbell said. “We’re looking at our league meet for that. But, we’ll probably will be in the top three or four.”

On the boys’ side, Kyle Morrison will be running in the 100, 200 and 400. John McGee has duties in the 800, while Kyle Cureau gets the call in the two mile. Moore, McGee, Cureau and Jonathan Armstead will be competing in the mile relay. And, look for Andreas Bauer and Armstead in the shot put.

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