Making the transition

Coaches, athletes work to go from one season to the next

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When Jake Breslin was a freshman, Moffat County wrestling coach Ron Linsacum encouraged him to go out for cross country in the fall. Two years later Breslin followed through.

After running this fall, Breslin said he's glad he finally listened.

"I have a lot better stamina," he said. "It's made things a lot easier."

Not everything was easy for Breslin.

"We were always eating in cross country," he said. "In wrestling, we can't eat like they did."

Breslin is one of many athletes for Moffat County who play multiple sports. The transition from one season to the next can be a challenge.

"My shot always needs some work," said senior Mari Katherine Raftopoulos, who went from volleyball to basketball.

Senior Daniel Cramblett's transition from football to wrestling has been a tiring one.

"We don't get a water break in wrestling," he said. "You have to get used to different kinds of fatigue. In football you're beat up, in wrestling you're exhausted."

Boys basketball coach Scott Parker said the challenge for his guys who played football is adjusting the mental approach.

"Football goes for five seconds and then they stop," he said. "Basketball is sustained."

The first week of practice has involved "a lot of up and down the court," Parker said.

Sophomore Markie Work--man, who played volleyball in the fall and is now out for basketball, said the conditioning in basketball is a challenge the first week.

"Toward the end of volleyball we don't condition a lot in practice," she said. "Then when basketball hits, we condition a lot. It's really exhausting at times."

The goal for girls basketball coach Craig Mortensen is to help his girls find their basketball legs.

"In volleyball, the athletes don't do quite as much running," he said. "It takes a couple of weeks to get their legs back."

He said he doesn't worry so much about his cross-country runners.

"I don't really worry about them because they come in already conditioned. Of course, everybody has to work on the fundamentals to get them back, but (the runners) aren't winded doing it."

Sophomore Kelsey Conci is the opposite of a runner going into basketball. By going from volleyball, which doesn't require anaerobic activity, to swimming, which does, Conci has to get the lungs and heart reacquainted with long intervals. This year, she jumped back into the pool two weeks before official swim practice started.

"The water felt thin and weird," she said. "I have to get used to pacing myself more now. Right now, I want to go fast in everything, and that might be from volleyball."

Despite the challenges of transitioning from one sport to another, all the athletes interviewed for this story said they would rather go from sport to sport instead of doing nothing in the fall.

"They would have to drag me off the court if I didn't do volleyball and then came to basketball," Workman said.

Wrestling coach Roman Gutierrez encourages his wrestlers to participate in a fall sport because of the difference he sees when students arrive for the first week of practice.

He said that Breslin and junior Trenton Duarte (who also ran cross country) were two of the best-conditioned guys in the room.

It takes some time for football players to get into wrestling shape, but Gutierrez thinks the two sports help the athletes.

"I think we make good football players and vice versa," Gutierrez said. "Both sports complement each other."

Breslin wrestled in two tournaments before the high school season began. He said he reaped the benefits of cross country.

The junior finished second in the Halloween Open, hosted by the Colorado School of Mines.

"I was in a lot better shape than the other wrestlers," he said. "It makes me pumped more for the season."

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