After dealing with an unfortunate incident during last year’s trip to Chandler, Arizona, which ended up with a runner in the hospital with alcohol poisoning, the Highlands Ranch track and field team’s weekend of racing concluded with more controversy than expected. Alcohol, uncommonly related to track and field, had an impact on the team and many of its runners. However, this year the Falcon track team looks to rebuild their reputation and have exciting and hard fought races as they return to Arizona.
Coach and teacher Dominic Douglass, social studies, looks to put behind last year’s trip and move forward to a better race and team environment.
“I would say that the kids this year are going down there to compete and are serious about track versus some kids last year that were just heading down for a vacation,” Douglass said. “We trust every kid coming. I think it’s a great meet for us; it helps us get to where we need to be at the end of the year, so that’s why we kind of did it this year even after last year’s debacle,” Douglass said.
As a main coach, Douglass feels that his and the duties of other coaches alongside him is to give the athletes restrictions without taking away the fun.
“We have the athletes and students’ safety in mind as well, so we just thought what would be safe for the kids, what would give them an environment where they could still have fun, but we are not dealing with the same things we did last year,” Douglass said.
As newer athletes roll in, so do new rules. Being a newer athlete on the team going to Arizona is a worry considering the events that occurred on last year’s trip. Sophomore runner, Scott Mortimer, looks to go to Arizona and have a safe and well-run trip.
“Last year I heard what happened when the team returned, and it surprised me a little bit because I didn’t expect to be hearing anything like that,” Mortimer said. “This year I want to go with the team and try and prove to everyone that we’re better than that.”
Eve Lacroix, senior and returning member of the team, said this year’s team is truly going to compete. Running all four years of high school, Lacroix has trained with and known her teammates for a long time.
“I’ve run with a lot of these kids for four years and I know that they made a mistake last year, but this year they’ll be going to really run,” Lacroix said. “I won’t be attending this year, but I’m confident in the decisions my teammates will make.”
As the team made its return to Arizona, athletes like Scott Mortimer ate, slept, and ran. The team went to Arizona with new runners and a new season for redemption, and came back with older runners and no trouble within the team. The Falcons, this year, just kept on running.
Zach Salcido, Guest Reporter