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Track is back with Eagle Valley Invite

And it didn’t snow?

For the first time in two years, Eagle Valley track and field runs the 100 meters at Saturday’s Eagle Valley Invite. Saturday’s meet was the opener and happy dose of normalcy as Eagle County continues to battle COVID-19. (Mort Mulliken
Special to the Daily)

GYPSUM — Saturday’s Eagle Valley Invitational in Gypsum was a joyous celebration of the mundane.

Track tents dotted John Ramunno Field with the colors of familiar schools like West Grand, Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs. And though the Eagle Valley Invitational was on the second Saturday of May — isn’t this meant to be league-meet weekend? — the wind still blew hard enough to knock over those tents in the finest tradition of High Country spring sports.

Just like potholes and construction, the return of the pole vault and track and field is a sign of spring in the Rockies. (Mort Mulliken
Special to the Daily)

Saturday just oozed normalcy, except for the fact that the meet was over by 2:50 p.m., which has got to be a record. (Understandably, fewer teams were in attendance because of COVID-19.)



On the web

We have limited space and a plethora of events from Saturday. So for the full rundown on baseball, lacrosse and soccer, please go to our website, vaildaily.com.

“This morning was honestly like Christmas morning,” Battle Mountain coach Rob Parish said, and he was speaking for all present. “Just the ability and the opportunity to think about how to put a track team together was great. It’s a good time for the world to reflect on what you really enjoy. It’s going to be the theme for 2021.”

Yes, runners even appeared to enjoy the open 3,200 meters. (OK, only a little.)



As of press time, results were not available on milesplit.com as it is still the beginning of the season for the officials as well. Quite frankly, no one really cared.

The first reason no one cares is that the Eagle Valley Invite was the opener — its traditional spot is the third or fourth meet of the season in April. A track and field opener is merely about putting down assorted times, distances and heights, which serve as a baseline for the rest of the season.

Second, please remember that at both the Eagle Valley Invite as well as Battle Mountain’s home meet (May 18) that the Devils, Huskies and Saints are not limited in their entries and may start as many athletes as they want in events. While the Devils and Huskies use this privilege more than the Saints because of numbers, more entries does mess with team points whenever they materialize and the team title from these two meets is not an accurate measurement of a squad’s strength.

Family reunion

There was simply an inordinate amount of cheer throughout the day. That excessive cheer was athletes remembering how much they love their sport, even if said sport is torture to some. (Ahem, 3,200).

Welcome back to track and field, Vail Christian. We say this every year: Don’t sleep on the Saints. Their regular-season results may not impress early, but watch what happens when they get to the state meet come June 24-26. (Mort Mulliken
Special to the Daily)

The coaches were so thrilled just to be able to start thinking about athletes in different events and who might make up a good relay team.

“Last year was devastating on a personal and professional level,” Eagle Valley coach Drake Brown said. “This year having it be a part of our lives again, it’s incredible.”

Had it snowed — and the Eagle Valley Invite is usually a helpful contributor to our snow pack — the athletes would have been fine.

“It’s awesome. I’ve honestly missed it so much,” said Devils junior Samantha Blair, upon whom all eyes will be trained as this season develops. “It’s just hanging out with the track team, other teams. Everyone’s so friendly and nice. I’ve missed everyone.”

Maybe the following was COVID-19 or just that girls are more mature at this age — probably both — but Blair also just enjoyed chilling out during the 1,600-meter relay before she ran, chatting with her Battle Mountain counterparts.

“The Battle Mountain girls are the best,” she said. “It’s so nice.”

How many laps is a 400?

This was truly one of the more endearing moments of the meet: Everyone figuring out the rules. Without a 2020 season, track and field seniors were sophomores the last time out, and as sophomores, they didn’t learn the ins and outs of a track meet.

It was hilarious to see even the most seasoned track and field coach trying to remember the order events in a one-day meet. The 3,200 relay is early and the open 3,200 is late, people. You remember this, folks, right? (The sports writer was trying to remember, too.)

Eagle Valley’s Trace Hobbs lets it fly during Saturday’s home meet.

With compressed preseason track schedules, all three schools were teaching on the run Saturday. These are the steps for the exchange in a relay. This is where you hand off and, yes, the 400 meters is just one lap.

The coaches loved doing this on Saturday and the Devils, Huskies and Saints all were absorbing the information.

“I enjoy the teaching,“ Parish said.

Heat is a problem?

Before Season C started, the big issue, primarily with boys’ soccer, was the prospective weather. Would it snow non-stop on soccer season?

Maybe, we were asking the wrong question about sports played in the spring. With the temperature near 70 on Saturday in Gypsum, what is the weather going to be like as the season progresses? All three schools are used to rain, sleet, snow and wind during this season.

Here come the Huskies. Yes, Saturday was the Eagle Valley Invite. It also was a celebration of everyday life. (Mort Mulliken
Special to the Daily)

What will everyone do when it’s nice like it was on Saturday? This is going to be an adjustment because the state meet is at Jeffco Stadium on June 24-26. It is going to be hot in Denver and we have images in our heads of Eagle County athletes drinking gallons of water to stay cool.

“We do a lot of training over the summer which gets us prepared,” said Huskies senior Elliot Pribramsky, who also runs cross-country in the fall. “You just kind of learn to run in the heat. The more you run in the heat, you get good at it. Definitely, we get better as the warm weather comes. So having it be this warm this early in the season is an advantage.”

The season continues as Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and Vail Christian head to Glenwood next weekend. The Devils and Huskies will also be sending contingents to a meet in Broomfield.


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