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Fall sports season kicks off

Coaches' seasons start much earlier than athletes'

Luke Graham

— It hasn’t been hard to find Brianna Montgomery during the past eight months.

If she wasn’t with her dad, there was only one place Moffat County High School’s second-year volleyball coach would be.

In the gym.

“I’m starting my program from scratch,” said Montgomery, who began coaching the team six weeks into last season. “This is my first offseason. It does take throwing myself into it.”

And has Montgomery ever engulfed herself into the program.

Along with 5:30 a.m. weight-lifting sessions through the winter and spring seasons, Montgomery held open gyms throughout the summer four nights a week.

The team also went to a camp in Provo, Utah – where both the junior varsity and varsity teams won their pools – and conducted a preseason local team camp last week.

If that wasn’t enough, Montgomery spent countless hours watching last year’s game tapes and made sure all of the coaches on her coaching staff went to a coaching clinic during the summer.

She’s also planning to host team-building camps the next couple of weeks before the Bulldogs finally suit up and play their first game – at Rangely on Aug. 30.

“We’ve got the foundation,” Montgomery said. “Now we have to build on that.”

Montgomery isn’t the only coach who has spent the offseason dedicated to her sport.

While fall sports practices on Monday signaled the actual start of the season, for coaches, the season began months ago.

It’s no secret that player preparation in the offseason and summer puts a team in position to win, but a coach’s offseason efforts can be the difference in being the bride or the bridesmaid at season’s end.

Kip Hafey, for instance, started thinking about this football season just days after Moffat County’s first-round playoff loss to Summit last year.

Starting with weight lifting in December, a team camp in Grand Junction during the summer and a conditioning camp last week, Hafey has made the coaching position like a second job.

“We want to get them prepared for the summer because we don’t see a lot of the players in the summer,” Hafey said. “But through the winter, we’ll start looking at personnel and schemes we might want to run.”

For some coaches, like cross-country coach Todd Trapp, the offseason approach is a little different.

Although Trapp took 10 runners to Grand Lake for a camp during the summer, his efforts are usually spent recruiting and setting out running schedules.

“Along with that, we look at what they did last year,” Trapp said. “We’re looking right away at their times and putting together what meets they’ll go to.”

Hafey said his staff are always working and thinking about football in the offseason, especially considering approaching a season where as many as six teams from the Western Slope have a chance at winning the league.

In the end, Hafey said, the work he puts in during December and January only helps the Bulldogs accomplish their goals in September, October and November.

“Our goal is always to win a state championship,” Hafey said. “You have to make the playoffs to make a run at the championship and in our league if you’re the No. 1 or No. 4 seed, you’ve got a chance.”


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