Craig Two young runners came to Craig just as the track and field season was starting, and they already are burning up the Western Slope.
Cheianne and Kayla Pinnt, a junior and a freshman at Moffat County High School, recently transferred to MCHS and have made an immediate impact on the team’s sprinting prospects.
The Pinnts were born in Hayden but moved to Utah in 2005 and to Montana in 2009. They returned to Northwest Colorado just a few weeks ago, on the first day of the track season.
Transferring from Skyview High School near Billings, Mont., to Moffat County was a major change. Skyview would be a Class 5A school in Colorado, so there was an adjustment to be made.
“It is way smaller here,” Cheianne said. “I thought it was going to be awful at first. But the school is good and we’re having fun.”
The Pinnts came to Craig just in time for the track season, which happens to be Kayla’s best sport. The freshman was coming up on her first high school season and looking for a challenge.
Kayla had participated in local youth track and a more competitive state-wide program in Montana called Big Sky Games. But she always ran away from her competition with ease.
Part of that likely is because of her sprinting pedigree. Cherissee Pinnt, the girls’ mother, was a sprinter at the University of Kansas.
“We knew (Kayla) would be fast, so we got her involved in track,” Cherissee said. “She’s always been fast, you could just tell watching her in basketball and other stuff.”
So when Kayla arrived at track practice and told the coaches some of her times, they weren’t sure what to think.
Coach Todd Trapp “told me, ‘I guess we’ll see,’” sprinting coach David Pressgrove said about his first conversation about Kayla. “Then we did some starting drills, working on acceleration, and Kayla was right there with one of our fastest guys.”
Kayla has not disappointed. With just one properly timed 100-meter run under her belt this season, she has the third best time in the state in Class 3A. In the 200, she currently sits at No. 2 in the state.
Kayla was expecting to be at least this good all along.
“It surprised me at my first meet, losing,” she said. “That had never really happened for me. In middle school, I didn’t care to practice. I would never have come out here during spring break. Now I’m here because I want to beat that girl.”
Cheianne is running track for the first time and has been no slouch for the Bulldogs in her first meets. She played tennis in the spring at Skyview but came out for track to support Kayla and have a spring sport to play.
It didn’t start out well, but running has grown on her.
“At first, I wasn’t enjoying it. I wanted to quit,” she said about the first few days of practice. “But after going to some meets and seeing what it’s all about, I like it.”
Cheianne runs on the Bulldogs’ sprint medley relay (currently seventh in 3A) and the 4x100 meter, which was in first at the last meet before anchor runner Selena Hernandez pulled up with an injury.
The Bulldogs’ coaches already thought they had young talent to work with in the shorter distances, but the Pinnts’ arrival added even more depth to the equation.
“This is my third year coaching and we haven’t had this level of talent in the girls sprints in my time,” Pressgrove said. “Coach (Kip) Hafey said right away, we’ve got the building blocks for the state championship if we stay out and stay tough. Limit-wise, it will be fun to see what they can do.”
The Pinnts aren’t planning to wait long for a state championship. Cherissee said Kayla has had the goal of state championships and beyond since she was much younger. Seeing what they’ve been able to do so far, Cheianne wants to get there this year in the relays.
“I want to be at least in the top three in the sprint medley at state,” she said. “That’s where we are right now, and winning it would be great.”
“I want to win in all my events,” Kayla said.
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org