Athletes try to keep sharp over break

If two of the Lady 'Dogs golfers get a few rounds in over spring break, it will be a big help.

Since the beginning of March, Lindsey Scott and Laura Duran, two senior Moffat County High School golfers, have been cooped up in the pint-sized gym of East Elementary School with little room to back-swing over the 3-foot-by-3-foot squares of artificial turf that substitute for fairways.

Traveling to warmer climates for the week of spring break will give the golfers a chance to break free of the clutches of the elementary school for the third time this season. The only times the seniors have swung on real grass are the two invitationals they've played and the earliest they hope to be outside for practice is the end of March.

"It's good and it's bad having the time off," coach Tom Dockstader said. "If the girls do like they say they are and play over vacation it will actually be better than having them practice inside. The down side is they may not play."

Not all the coaches can reap the benefits of spring break like Dockstader.

Most MCHS teams will be in dry dock over the break with little or no set practices. Along with the lack of practice, the break lengthens the time in between games with some sports out of the mix for as long as 20 days.

While coaches are not bound by Colorado High School Athletic Association regulations to halt practices over the break, most coaches do because of the number of athletes who leave town and would miss practice even if it was held. The baseball team alone had two players on vacation during Friday and Saturday's Delta Tournament.

The biggest concern for coaches is the amount of conditioning and skills lost over the break because many of the athletes will ignore their coaches' wishes and stay away from working on their chosen sports.

"I expect all the girls to touch the ball over vacation," girls soccer coach Tom St. Louis said. "But I know in reality that not all of them will. In the end it's their decision whether or not they want to keep getting better."

Some programs will hold practices during this week but most will do so on a limited basis, holding only one or two days' worth of workouts.

The girls soccer program will hold optional practices under assistant coach Carla Bamford, during which the girls will do nothing more than shoot goals.

And the Bulldogs baseball team will take the diamond or the MCHS gym, if the weather is bad, Thursday to prepare for a game scheduled for Saturday.

"We'll give the boys a well-deserved break at the beginning of the week and then get back into practice," baseball coach Kip Hafey said. "We'll try to make sure we're ready when we face Hotchkiss Saturday, even though we'll be a few players short."

In the end, the week of practice lost because of spring break will matter little because most other schools will be vacationing as well.

"We're all in the same boat, so it all equals out," girls basketball coach Craig Mortensen said. "It's something every athletic program has to deal with."

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