Boulder Running Company/Colorado Track XC Athletes of the Week

Boulder Running Company/Colorado Track XC Athletes of the Week


Trent Ireland - Broomfield

Rachel Hinker - Lyons



Special to Colorado Track XC by Dan Betz

Week 5


Seventeen years ago I started my coaching career at Golden Plains High School in Rexford, Kansas, total high school enrollment of 48. One thing that I observed regularly in Kansas were athletes competing in multiple events, even at the state level.  Jackie Stiles of Claflin High School comes to mind for the fact that she won fourteen state titles in events ranging from triple jump to 3200 meters, including the 400, 800, 1600, and 3200 in one day.


When I came to Colorado, with its pre-qualifying and ranking formats, it was much less common to see athletes participate in a broad range of events.  This week's Boulder Running Company/Colorado Track XC athletes of the week are, however, going against the grain and finding success in multiple events.


Rachel Hinker of Lyons High School is no stranger to Colorado track and field. She came into high school track and field competing alongside her older sisters. Rachel has been a multiple state placer since she was a freshman. This year, Rachel is the lone Hinker at Lyons High School and she is carrying the family's torch well.


Most recently, at the Boulder County Championships, Rachel won the 100m in 12.16 (+2.2), the 200m in 25.61 (-0.9), and the long jump with a leap of 16-10 (-2.0).  Rachel also finished the second in the triple jump with a combined jump of 33-11.75 (+0.0). Each of these marks place Rachel at or near the top of the 2A leaders and highlight her diversity as an athlete. Of all the events she has competed in, Rachel prefers the short events this year, “When my sisters were on the team, I liked being in relays with them. This year I'd have to say the 100 meters and long jump are my favorite events.”

According to Rachel, part of the success of Lyon’s track program is the push to get athletes into multiple events, “Since Lyons is a small school, Coach Roberts pushes everyone to compete in a lot of events. Sometimes even pushing them out of their comfort zone to make them stronger. I'd have to say that it would be strange competing in just one event. The gun goes off, twelve seconds later and you're done for the day?”


Coach Mark Roberts’s dedication to get the most out of his athletes has caused Lyons to become one of the best track programs in the state regardless of size. Next year Rachel will take her talents to the University of Northern Colorado where she will specialize in the sprints. When asked to pick an event to focus on in college Rachel said, “Even though I've only been long jumping for just over a year, I would probably choose it because I think I have the most room for improvement in that event.”

No matter which event Rachel chooses at UNC, she figures to be successful.

Rachel’s co-MVP at the Boulder County Championships was also the boys' athlete of the week, Trent Ireland of Broomfield High School.  Also a sprinter, Trent won the 100m in 10.92 (-0.9), the 200m in 22.45 (-0.4), the 400m in 49.28, and anchored the meet runner-up 1600m relay with a time of 3:27.16.


On a side note, Trent enjoyed one additional victory on the day--he was as selected as prom king for Broomfield High School.


Trent’s performances this season currently rank him first in 4A in the 100m and 200m and third in the 400m and 1600m relay.

Trent is also no stranger to multiple events. Trent has competed in all of the sprint events as well as the long jump. This year Trent’s coaches have focused his training on the 400m early, just recently adding speed into his regimen, “Most of my early training has been focused on strength and endurance -- with 400m reps a big part of that …I'm just now starting to work on speed training.  Hopefully, now that my legs are in pretty good shape, I can avoid injury as I work to improve my speed as the season progresses.”


Trent feels that running in numerous races helps him instead of hinders his times, “It's not like I'm doing radically different events. I used to long jump, but now every event I do is a sprint -- only the distances are a little different and sometimes I carry a baton…Since I'm not very tall, my stride is probably a little shorter than some of my competitors, so I have to be in top shape in order to maintain a peak pace throughout the race -- and running the 400m has helped with that.” 


Of the multiple events that Trent has tried his favorite tends to be the shorter sprints, “If I had to choose, it would probably be the shorter sprints -- the 100m and 200m, as my starts are probably my strong point.”


Kudos to Rachel Hinker and Trent Ireland for proving that success can be achieved in multiple events and without the rampant specialization that we see in Colorado track and field.


It seems as if it has been ages since track for me consisted of wind, cinder tracks, grass high jump, and very athletic kids. Thank you Rachel Hinker and Trent Ireland for reminding us all of how exhilarating it can be.