As one chapter ends, another one begins for six Glenwood Springs Demons track and field athletes.
Holding a signing ceremony last Wednesday inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium at Glenwood Springs High School before hitting the road for the St. Vrain Invitational, Sequoia Kellogg, Emily Worline, Henry Barth, Gavin Harden, Wyatt Ewer, and Bryce Risner signed their national letters of intent to continue their storied track and field careers at the next level.
For some, it was only a matter of time until they picked a college to compete for. For others, running track in college was never much of a thought.
Regardless of how they came to the decision to move on to the next level, all six leave behind lasting legacies within the Glenwood track and field program, which they hope culminates in a state championship or two later this week at the 4A state track and field championships at JeffCo Stadium in Lakewood.
It will be the final time each athlete straps on the Glenwood Springs colors on the track.
Coming into the year, senior Wyatt Ewer didn’t really believe he was good enough to run track in college, but fast forward to the end of his senior track season and the senior speedster is set to run track for Western Colorado University in Gunnison.
The decision to head to Western was an easy one for Ewer, considering he was very familiar with the campus, the facilities and the general atmosphere at the school, thanks to his older brother, Justin Barham, who is playing football for the Cowboys in recent years.
Despite having an easy decision to choose Western to run under head coach Lindsey Grasmick, Ewer was surprised to receive any interest for track, especially from a school like Western.
“My first reaction when Western showed interest was, ‘People are looking at me to run track for them?’” said Ewer. “I didn’t even know I was good enough. Most colleges, you have to contact them and show interest, but Lindsey contacted me right away and expressed interest in me. It was a pretty easy decision from there.”
Ewer has excelled in the 110m and 300m hurdles, as well as the triple jump this season. He’ll compete in all three events at the state meet Thursday-Saturday in Lakewood.
Despite excelling in a number of events, Ewer said he’s discussed transitioning to the decathlon at the collegiate level. The senior has never competed in a decathlon, but close friend AJ Crowley did last summer for the Glenwood Springers’ track and field program, so he has someone to draw from when it comes to experiences in the event.
“I’ll probably do some individual events, but I could probably be a decathlete there,” said Ewer. “The coaches believe in me, and I think I’m good enough to do it. I never even thought of myself coming close to doing that, but then my buddy AJ [Crowley], he did a decathlon. It’s a ton of fun, but it’s a lot of stuff I haven’t tried before. I’m really looking forward to trying one.”
Outside of track and field at Western, Ewer plans on pursuing a teaching degree in hopes of becoming an elementary teacher after college.
“I’ve just always enjoyed working with kids,” said Ewer. “The church I go to, I’m really close with the pastor and his kids. I just really enjoy being around kids; it’s something I really like to do, and it would be really cool to teach an elementary school class.”
GOING THE DISTANCE
Growing up, senior Emily Worline also believed she could run in college. Last week after dotting the i’s in her name, Worline cemented her opportunity to run in college, signing with Westminster College in Salt Lake City to run cross country and track and field.
“I’ve just always seen myself running in college, honestly,” said Worline. “I wasn’t looking at many schools, since you have to reach out to them. But I had the chance to meet with the Westminster coaches and some of the athletes, and it just felt like a really cool fit.”
Worline stood out in the fall as a cross country runner, both with the Glenwood Springs program, and in local races throughout the valley. That great cross country season carried over into track and field, where Worline stood out as a distance runner for the Demons.
She’ll head to the state championships this week and will compete in the 4x400m relay, the 4x800m relay and the 800m sprint medley relay. Despite all of the success this year for Glenwood, the senior still sees room for improvement.
“I’m just really excited for the opportunity to keep running,” said Worline. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement this year, but there’s still room to get better. It’s definitely scary thinking about competing in college because the competition level is higher and it’s a lot more work, but I’m just really excited to compete.”
When not running long distances, Worline will focus on a nursing degree at Westminster.
“My mom used to be an occupational therapist, and I’ve always been interested in science and health care,” added Worline. “I went back and forth for awhile on what I was going to do in that field, but just recently I realized that nursing will be the best fit for me.”
MUSIC TO HIS EARS
It’s been a goal of Bryce Risner’s since he was 8 years old to run track in college. Through music, as well as his terrific abilities as a hurdler and jumper, the senior and son of Glenwood Springs High School track coach Blake Risner, landed a Division I scholarship with the University of Northern Colorado to run track for the Bears.
“This all started with the music program [at UNC],” said Risner. “I was always told throughout the years UNC has the best music program overall. That’s where I wanted to end up.”
After an interview with the music school, Risner was awarded a scholarship, which then led to an opportunity with the UNC track and field program.
Following a terrific senior season that sees him in contention for a state championship in the 110m and 300m hurdles, and the high jump, Risner will head to the D-I program.
“It’s super relieving [now that I’ve signed],” said Risner. “There’s a little bit of extra glamor to it with it being a Division I scholarship, but overall I’m just so happy that all this hard work has paid off and I’ve achieved a goal I set when I was about 8 years old. I’m excited that I’ll get to train year-round, getting stronger and faster while working with such amazing athletes.
“Honestly, there was never a doubt in my mind I’d run track in college,” Risner added. “I want to run track for as long as possible.”
With UNC, Risner could transition into the decathlon.
At the moment, Risner is focused on getting his music degree, which will allow him to pursue a number of things following graduation.
Hopefully, for the senior’s sake, he’ll get to pursue that music degree after achieving another goal he set early on in life: winning a Colorado High School Activities Association track and field state championship.
HEAD WEST, YOUNG LADY
For three years now, Sequoia Kellogg has been one of the standout female track and field athletes in Garfield County. During her senior season, Kellogg dominated the competition once again, which drew the attention of head coach Lindsey Grasmick and Western Colorado University. That attention then led to a scholarship offer, which in turn saw Kellogg commit to the Cowboys’ program for the next four years.
“At first, I was reaching out to schools, and then Western was reaching out to me,” said Kellogg. “I went to a camp there, and I just fell in love with the facilities, the atmosphere, and the coaching staff. The coaches were really nice. They continued to help me in the recruiting process and educated me on things about the process, even though they didn’t know for sure I was coming. That was a big selling point for me; they just care about the athletes there.”
While at Glenwood, Kellogg competed in a number of events for the Demons. That all-around skill-set let to the senior qualifying for this week’s state championship meet in an incredible seven different events. Now, she won’t compete in all seven due to the heavy workload, but it’s rare to see one athlete qualify for seven different events. That well-rounded ability could see Kellogg compete in a number of events at the collegiate level, giving the Cowboys a versatile athlete to work with.
“We haven’t really decided what I’ll do just yet,” said Kellogg. “I’ve talked with the coaching staff about doing multi-events, hurdles and jumps, so we’ll see what’s in store for me.”
In the classroom, Kellogg wants to pursue a physical therapy degree with an eye on sports therapy. Despite knowing what field she wants to get into, she’s not quite sure yet what her ultimate goal is.
PUSHING EACH OTHER
If you’ve watched Glenwood Springs track and field this spring, or cross country in the fall, Gavin Harden and Henry Barth can be seen pushing each other in distance events. Just two weeks ago, Barth broke Harden’s school record in the 3200m at the Multi-League championships at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. Barth’s record breaker came just a few weeks after Harden broke his very own school record in the event.
Blake Risner has stated before that Harden pushed Barth to be better, and vice versa. Now, the pair head to the collegiate level to run long distances.
Barth heads to Fort Lewis College in Durango, while Harden heads to the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. The Post Independent was unable to reach either distance runner prior to the publication of this story.
The duo will compete in the 3200m at the state championship later this week, while Harden will also run in the 1600m.