Miguel Molina, a Moffat County High School junior, hangs from the field goal post on the school’s football field Wednesday. Molina plays on the MCHS varsity football team as well as runs cross-country during the fall.

Photo by Brian Smith

Miguel Molina, a Moffat County High School junior, hangs from the field goal post on the school’s football field Wednesday. Molina plays on the MCHS varsity football team as well as runs cross-country during the fall.

MCHS junior juggles unusual sports load

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MCHS junior Miguel Molina runs on the MCHS track Thursday wearing his #7 football jersey. Molina said the running in track and the running in cross-country differs because of the variety of events in the track.

Miguel Molina is a three-sport athlete, but not in the traditional way.

Molina made a commitment after his sophomore year to not only play for the Moffat County High School varsity football team, but to run cross-country as well, both sports played during the fall season.

He also had to train for track and field, a sport that requires practice all year.

“It is really difficult and really tiring,” the MCHS junior said. “I was up at 6 a.m. running and then had to shower and get dressed at the school by 7:30. Doing two sports in one season definitely changed my schedule.”

Molina said a driving force that helped him through was cross-country and track coach Todd Trapp.

While Trapp knew Molina could succeed in cross-country, he also told him to concentrate most on his top sport, football.

“I am not the best runner, but I am pretty good, and Trapp told me I could help the team out a lot,” Molina said. “He ran with me in the summer, but told me that I had to do football and it was my primary sport.”

The hardest obstacle, Molina said, was the difference in training.

While running requires endurance and keeping a steady pace, football was more short, all-out bursts, he said.

“Football is all about power and explosiveness, and you give it your all for about 30 seconds,” Molina said. “In cross-country, you run for 16 plus minutes and the fitness is so different than what is required for football.”

The any-position football player was put in as safety, cornerback, wingback and wide receiver during the season.

Lance Scranton, the MCHS varsity football and boys varsity track coach, said Molina’s work ethic is what allowed him to do two sports in one season, including battling back from a knee injury.

“Miguel works hard and he is coach-able,” Scranton said. “I think we could have put him in on the offensive line or at the quarterback position and he would have done alright.”

Scranton said the first year had its ups and downs for Molina, but believes his second year will yield better results.

“I’m not sure his focus was always there this past year,” he said. “Next year, he will know what to expect and that will help him.”

Even though Molina didn’t participate in any sports in the winter, the training continued.

“We took about two weeks off after football and cross-country got over and then we started training for track,” he said.

Molina said the runs started slow in the first month, but they worked up to faster, harder paced runs.

When spring came, Molina was again called on to be the all-around man, running in the 800-meter run, the 1,600-meter run, the 400-meter run, the 4-by-400-meter relay and the 4-by-800-meter relay.

There is still a difference, however, between the running in cross-country and the running in track, Molina said.

“I’d have to say that cross-country is the easier sport to train for because you are always preparing for the same race,” he said. “In track, one week I may run the 800-meter race and the next I may run the mile, so the training varies on what events you are in.”

As summer draws near, Molina said he would again be training for both the cross-country squad and the football team.

He will have about two weeks off once school ends and then get started up again for the fall.

Whether it is running with his team or participating in football camps, Molina is always training.

“I have a few days of rest here and there, but I also lift almost every day,” he said. “I try to run at least once a week with my cross-country team and then I practice or lift with my football team at least four days a week.”

Still, Molina said he finds time throughout the year to do things he enjoys, including snowboarding and mountain biking.

“I hang out with friends a lot and we try to do different stuff all the time like going to the water flume,” he said. “I like to be active, so we do active things.”

Out of the three sports he participates in, Molina said football ranks number one.

“I am not a violent kid, but I like hitting people in football,” he said. “Plus, the whole crowd at the football games are different than when I am running, and it gets me excited and pumped up.

“Football is an exciting sport, and I like running, but it is not that exciting.”

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