How Steamboat Springs High School hosted its 1st track meet
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Athletic director Luke DeWolfe does not know when, if ever, the last time Steamboat Springs High School hosted a track meet.
“None that I know of, not since I’ve been here,” DeWolfe said. “We’ve hosted some middle school meets around 2008 or 2009. The track surface was just in such disregard it became a safety issue. Prior to that, I’ve talked to a lot of people, and no one’s ever said, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve had a meet.'”
When building a new track became the reality in 2017, DeWolfe and head track coach Lisa Renee Tumminello made it a goal to host a meet.
Once finished, Tumminello created a more specific vision of what she wanted out of the Steamboat Invite. She wanted it to be a smaller meet that met the state-qualification standards and ran efficiently.
“We’ve gotten to the place where there’s nine- or 10-hour meets,” Tumminello said. “So we said, ‘OK, we want to do something that can be great competition and still also allow athletes to do something fun at home.'”
Tumminello checked her watch when the boys 4×400-meter relay, the final event of the day, concludes. The track meet started at noon and was ending at 3:35 p.m.
The coaches joked about how they all wanted to be home by 6 p.m., and she couldn’t believe it was possible.
The Steamboat Invite hosted three other teams, including West Grand, Little Snake River Valley and Moffat County. Both Glenwood Springs and Aspen thought of coming, but withdrew their entries when they found out the throwing pits were still under water.
“Not having our throws because of the high snow was an issue, but that’s alright,” Tumminello said. “The fourth biggest goal was to be able to highlight our new stadium. It wouldn’t have mattered if no teams came, for them to be competing on their home track was a big deal.”
The senior class used to jump the holes that spotted the older track. For years, the athletes raised money for new equipment to go along with the new track. It’s the little things like the tape measures, sand rakes, hurdles and a starting pistol that wouldn’t have been possible without their dedication to the sport.
To make the meet state qualifying, Tumminello filed the paperwork in December. This meant that the track had to have an electronic timing system.
Scott Siettman, who manages Scott Meets Timing and Meet Managing System, provides the equipment for meets on the Western Slope. On such short notice, his only availability was during the week. Most track meets are booked a year to two in advance. Tumminello had a little over three months.
The rest was easy. Thirty parents readily volunteered in addition to the Steamboat track athletes.
Competing on a small stage
Although the meet was small, Tumminello emphasized how important it was that the athletes showed up, even if they only competed against each other in certain events.
And for some, it didn’t matter if the competition was there. Steamboat senior Eric Casey broke the school record in pole vault, while the Steamboat girls 4×400-meter relay team of Steamboat sophomore Marcada Baker, sophomore Eliza Riordan, senior Winter Boese and junior Maggi Congdon broke the school record in an unopposed race.
“We were imagining the school record the entire time,” Riordan said. “It was just a line we needed to get to.”
The time to beat was 4 minutes, 9.74 seconds, and the Steamboat girls ran a time of 4:8.23. That moves the team up to No. 3 in Class 4A, earning a bid to state.
More competition is always nice, and Tumminello hopes the meet continues to grow in the coming years. One of her ideas is to have a Friday meet before Glenwood or Eagle Valley’s well-established Saturday meets, so athletes could spend the night and enjoy Steamboat.
“Stay in a hotel, go to the hot springs and then go on to the meet the next day,” Tumminello said. “Maybe, in the future, putting on a second (meet). Just an all-relay meet. There’s a Jack and Jill meet in Denver, but that’s the only relay meet. Something like that would be different and unique.”
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