Chasing excellence: Steamboat track and field to rely on senior leaders in 2023
The Steamboat Springs track and field team’s motto for the 2023 season is “powered by altitude, anchored by team.”
Head coach Lisa Renee Tumminello said the goal for this season is for the athletes to chase excellence and help motivate and fuel others to do things they never knew were possible.
Tumminello said it’s a young team this year, and with so many rostered athletes, she will be relying on her older members to set the example and help the operation run smoothly during practices and at meets.
“I think the biggest challenge as a coach is to know when to hit the pause and let them step forward and be incredible,” Tumminello said. “To watch the veterans year after year mentor up what that looks like for the youngsters, it happens much more quickly than if it was a coach.”
Tumminello recently brought the team to the fieldhouse at the Colorado School of Mines on Saturday, March 11, in hopes of building those inter-team relationships and giving the less experienced athletes a taste of what’s to come.
The athletes had a chance to practice in a full-scale facility, rather than running around the school or on Steamboat’s snow-packed roads.
“We have a lot of snow, as everyone knows, so we were able to jump, throw, work on pits and work on the track for 3.5 hours, which was really good for a lot of the newcomers because they had never ran on a track,” senior Casey Wolf said. “They may not have known what it is like to be in that environment yet.”
The Sailors will get the first true understanding of the competition environment on Friday, March 17, when they travel to Rifle for the first meet of the season.
Tumminello stressed to her athletes that this meet is mostly to settle in, get the juices flowing and learn. The conditions will not be optimal, and she has set no expectations beyond seeing her athletes put their best foot forward and cheering each other on.
Despite the small expectations on performance, even the upperclassmen are already feeling the pressures of the season.
“The nerves never go away,” senior Margaux Shea said. “The night before a meet I can never sleep and that’s just part of the nervous excitement. I’m really excited to see how the underclassmen handle that and know that all the upperclassmen are here to support them.”
Senior Olin Webster said it has been awesome to see the way the team has bonded over the last few weeks of practice.
He thinks the younger group is in for a treat on meet day.
“A lot of these people haven’t experienced ‘the uniting of the Western Slope’ as we like to call it,” Webster said. “We pride ourselves in going to talk to other teams, and we’re the loudest cheerers and a lot of these newcomers don’t understand that vibe yet.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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