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The sound of running feet shattered the months of silence on the track inside Englewood High School Stadium as about 40 athletes began training for the coming track and field season.
“We have a decent turnout of Englewood athletes, plus we will have about 10 athletes joining us from St. Mary's Academy for the season,” Pirates coach Ryan Wess said. “We have a good mix of young athletes and veterans. Most of our sprinters are young but are pretty good. I think our team will score points in the sprints and the distance events. `We have a few kids throwing shot put and discus. We could use more athletes competing in those events and definitely it would help us if more girls signed up to compete in those events.”
Wess said plans are for the Pirates to compete in at least six meets this season. He said most of the meets on the schedule are Denver Public Schools meets. However the first meet of the season for the Pirates will be March 10 at Columbine.
“Not all our kids will compete at Columbine,” the coach said. “We will take the kids who are in shape, and we know that won't be all our kids because we still will have new kids joining our team in the next week or so.”
Wess and Andy Cornell are coaching the team for the first time. Wess, who also coaches the Englewood cross country teams, works with the distance runners. Cornell, an EHS graduate who ran track for the Pirates, is coaching sprinters and hurdlers. He is a familiar face to many athletes because he has been an assistant football and track coach for several years.
The team took advantage of the nice weather to get in a full practice Feb. 28. Cornell worked with the short-distance event runners. He led them through a series of stretching exercises before running on the track. At the same time, Wess gathered the distance runners around him. He instructed them to run a street course of about two miles at a comfortable pace.
He said he wasn't interested in fast times, he just wanted to have them get out and run a distance route as part of getting ready for competition.
Englewood senior Dwight Anderson is back with the team this season. His primary events are shot put and discus but he will also run sprints for his team.
Anderson, who wrestled for the Pirates, said he was in shape and ready to compete.
“Wrestling got me in great shape for the track season,” the senior said. “I will focus on shot put and discus. Discus is the most difficult event for me. Technique is so important in both shot put and discus. I hope to improve my techniques in both events. One of my goals this season to throw the discus more than 100 feet.”
Anderson said work in the weight room to get stronger for wrestling also makes him stronger for the track season.
“Wrestling also helped me build my endurance which will help me in my track events,” he said. “This is my senior year, so I plan to focus on having the best season of my high school career and to do all I can to help our team score points.”
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