Tigers hope to be early bird that gets worm
SUMMIT COUNTY – Some Summit High School students have a good excuse for yawning in class, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays.The Tigers’ Nordic ski team meets for weight training twice a week at 6:30 a.m.It’s not necessarily a comfortable schedule for youngsters who are balancing constant academic and athletic commitments, but state champions don’t typically experience an easy lifestyle.”Certainly it’s difficult,” SHS coach Gene Dayton said. “I don’t know of anyone who likes to get up that early, but it’s one of the techniques that is proven.”The Lady Tigers have won four consecutive state championships (in collaboration with SHS’ alpine team), while the boys were second last winter and state champs the year before.Dayton took a moment before Wednesday’s practice at the Frisco Nordic Center to explain why he requires team members to pump iron before dawn.”We’ve got some of our athletes skiing as fast as they’re going to ski, period,” Dayton said. “We want them to be able to ski this fast in March and not peak too early. We’re going to maintain their strength during the week, so we don’t over-train with skiing and burn them out before the end of the season.”As far as Dayton’s concerned, by the way, it’s all about the end of the season.
“The state championship meet is the one we look forward to,” he said. “And the rest of them – we often don’t know what the results are until the next day.”The Lady Tigers will look to co-captain Briana Perkins to lead them to a five-peat at the state meet.Perkins, who won individual state titles in both the skate and classic races last season, is one of six Lady Tigers who ran cross country this fall, which could prove to be a helpful factor. “For me, the main point of cross country is to train for (Nordic season),” said Perkins, who competed in last weekend’s Rocky Mountain Division opener in Frisco. “Even against my sister, there’s a huge difference – I ran cross country, so I had the endurance over her this weekend. She started two people ahead of me and I passed her.”Perkins’ older sister, Brittany, is an SHS skiing legend (five individual state championships), who now skis for Western State College in Gunnison.”They come into this with a powerful engine,” Dayton said when asked about the correlation between cross country running and skiing. “Some of the specifics for weight training are different, but both are aerobic sports, both require a terrific mindset, discipline and desire in order to compete.”Other Lady Tigers who were also harriers this fall include Mackenzie Jones (a co-captain), Jenya Berino, Julia Bishop, Julia Hayes and Bailey Jefferson. Heidi Gruber, Dana Meeker and Alison Rowley round out the Lady Tigers’ squad.SHS’ boys team is led by co-captains Tyler Reinking and Alan Harrington as well as returnees Tom Sawyer and Richard Hayes. They are joined by Andy Arrance, McCabe Jones, and Duncan Koehn.
Reinking may be the only male Tiger who competed on the school’s cross country team, but his Nordic teammates stayed busy this fall just the same.”I think I was the only one who didn’t play a fall sport,” junior Tom Sawyer said. “But I trained with (first-year Summit Nordic Ski Club coach) Justin Easter five or six days a week. It was a lot of running and roller skiing on the bike paths.”Now that the talented Tigers are finally assembled, their tradition of setting lofty goals has continued.”We’ve gotten better year after year after year.” Dayton said. “We have more depth -nine women and seven men and they’re absolutely the cream of the crop.”Summit’s high school season begins Saturday at Vail with a 9 a.m. classic race.Four to watch:Briana Perkins – Sr.
Mackenzie Jones – Sr.Tyler Reinking – Sr.Tom Sawyer – Jr. Coach’s Quote: “We’ve gotten better year after year after year. We have more depth – nine women and seven men and they’re absolutely the cream of the crop.”- Gene DaytonAdam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
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