Noxon High School track gears up for spring

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As if an omen from above, the thick, moisture-rich clouds parted, revealing blue skies and piercing rays of spring sunshine indicating better days of weather ahead.

It was just the opening Noxon High School track coach Scott Richardson needed to move his mostly student squad outside and embark on another round of drills. vigorous conditioning heading into the coming season.

Heavy snow banks that remain around campus indicate the team was forced to practice indoors frequently during the first week of training.

A large group of freshmen represent the hope that springs from the eternal thought that Richardson and the Red Devils will carry into the 2022 Montana Class BC track and field season, which kicks off with the season opener at Polson April 8.

With no usable running track other than an unusable dirt track surrounding the school football field, Polson and Thompson Falls are as close to a “home” meet as the team will get this year.

That being said, Richardson will rely on highly decorated heavyweight Cade VanVleet to be a regular points producer for the Red Devils while a promising group of freshmen continues to develop.

VanVleet, who recently signed a letter of intent to attend Montana Tech University where he will throw the discus and shot put, is an all-state returning performer who finished second in the shot put last year with a throw of just over 50 feet.

“It wasn’t my best shot,” VanVleet said of the toss. “But it was good enough for second place and some team points. Hopefully I will do better this year”.

That being an understatement of his drive and determination, the improvement can only be a state title for the massively built senior.

The other participant in the Red Devils encounter was senior Nathan Cano, who qualified in the two-hurdle event but did not finish.

With these two being the basis of the experiment, the Red Devils and coach Richardson are hoping for rapid improvement from a large and strong class of ninth grade boys and girls to bring in team points.

“We have a strong group of freshmen coming up,” he said. “We should be quite good in the future, but hopefully we can develop a strong performance this year as well. It’s kind of a rebuilding year for us and we hope that the foundation for the next few years will be part of this group of freshmen”.

To help achieve this goal, Richardson and fellow coach Matt Haven focused on conditioning drills to get the team into peak physical condition that will turn into points over the years.

With five years of experience as a Noxon track trainer, Richardson has developed a crossfit-like routine with innovative exercises and strength tests such as flipping a large truck tire back and forth mixed with a variety of running and weight lifting type routines to help build overall strength. and fitness.

“When you think about it, the first part of any athletic season is usually about conditioning,” he said. “We wanted to build something that provides the means to strengthen all the different muscle groups.”

The goal, he said, is to encourage individual athletes to work as hard as they can, and at their own pace, to prepare for the upcoming season.

“The first few weeks are all about conditioning,” he said. “We want to focus on improving each athlete and finding new personal bests (PR) during the season. Those who stick to the program and work hard will see results.”

Overall, Richardson hopes to find sprinters among the freshman cohort to match VanVleet’s strength and experience in the throwing events and Cano’s ability in the hurdling events.

So on this brief day of sunshine lighting up the field and parking lot in front of the school, tires were turned, weights were carried, and long sprints in the parking lot were the order of the day.

Hopefully some team points will be found among the group of 14 who showed up for the track, including would-be sprinter Trevian Monegan and aspiring distance runner Martha Klaus in the mile and two-mile events. Or freshmen Stephanie Everett in the 100 and 200 meter races and the javelin.

Time and conditioning will be key.

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