Summit track and field faces the unknown |

Summit track and field faces the unknown

FARMER’S KORNER – New coaches, new athletes, new opponents and a track covered in snow – as the Summit High School track and field team prepares for the first meet of the spring, no one is willing to predict what’s going to happen this season.

“We’ve got all kinds of hopes, but no expectations,” said assistant coach Gary Adamson.

The team only has about 10 returning athletes, including two seniors. Freshmen and sophomores fill out most of the roster, and after only a week and a half of indoor practice, it’s tough to identify any standouts.

“Once their skills get developed and once they’re involved in all the meets, they’ll be fine,” said senior Ray Zakahi, who captains the team with senior Jessie Glynn and junior Tara Carosa.

“This (first) meet will really show us more of our strengths and weaknesses … where people are standing, what people are going to be good at and what we have to take them out of,” Glynn said.

Uncooperative weather has made it hard for the crop of new team members to work out the kinks. For nearly every preseason practice, snow has forced the athletes to set up starting blocks in the hallways and high-jump mats in the gym. Discus throwers cleared snow from a small patch of the school parking lot Thursday, trying to squeeze in one throwing practice before Saturday’s season opener – the Cold Weather Classic in Englewood.

“We put shot and discus pads in last year out at the softball fields, and they’re about waist-deep in snow right now,” said assistant coach Rob Royer as throwers worked out in the weight room.

The Summit squad is also adjusting to a new coaching staff, led by Sandy Padjen, who was the head track and cross country coach at St. Charles High School in Chicago before relocating to Summit. The coaches have imposed a stricter training regimen than in seasons past, trying to prepare the athletes for competition with the large schools of the Jeffco League, which Summit enters for the first time this season.

“Jeffco has more schools, more kids … it’s going to be tougher to get points,” Royer said.

There are a few things the team can count on. Glynn will compete in the 300-yard hurdles again after just missing a spot in the state meet last year with her fourth-place finish at regionals. Distance specialist Carosa is coming off a strong cross country season and hopes to repeat last year’s successes in the mile, two mile, and 800 relay.

In the field events, Zakahi is expected to be competitive again this year in the long jump, an event he consistently won last season. Junior Erin Young, who competed at state in high jump last year, will lead a new crop of jumpers on the girls team.

Discus is another strong event for the Tigers – sophomore Mike Holloway and junior Lindsay Rappleye are both aiming to qualify for state.

“I’ll probably throw about 120, 130 for the first meet, hopefully build my way up, get the state qualifying throw or be one of the top three in regionals,” said Holloway, who missed getting a qualifying spot by just 6 inches last season.

And while the relative inexperience of the team may make things tough for Summit this spring, the team hopes that having such a large number of freshmen and sophomores will mean good things over the next few seasons.

“They’re going to be awesome in a couple of years, especially with the new coaching staff and how hard-core they are,” Rappleye said. “Everyone’s learning from each other.”

Jonelle Lonergan can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 230, or at

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