Littleton track runs into new season

Posted 4/6/10

Courtney Johnson After winning both state championships last season, the Littleton High School track and field team is regrouping this season after …

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Littleton track runs into new season


Courtney Johnson

After winning both state championships last season, the Littleton High School track and field team is regrouping this season after losing some key runners to graduation.

Longtime coach Brian Kula, who coached the Lions to top-five finishes the past five out of six years, has moved on to coach and fill the athletic director’s position at Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch.

Coming from a long history as both a competitor and as a coach, Art Vigil, a physical education teacher at Goddard Middle School, has stepped in this year to help the Lions defend their titles. Vigil also took over as head coach of the cross country program at Littleton this past fall.

What he loves most about the team is the student athletes truly have a passion for the sport.

“It is what makes them different,” Vigil said. “They love it, the hurt, everything. They eat it up and that is why they are state champions.”

Having a team so dedicated to the sport has made his job of transitioning easier.

“It makes me want to go head over heals to make each of them better,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of this team and excited to see where we can go.”

Sophomore Dana Gaetani knows the team has the heart and the tools to win another Class 5A championship.

“Coach is really trying to push us and truly knows what we can do,” Gaetani said. “That is hard to come in and do as a new coach, but he believes in us more then we do ourselves.”

Coach Vigil hands out P.O.W. shirts to those athlete’s that do something extraordinary, something he can’t forget and will use as a motivational story down the road. So far this season, he has already given out more then a handful. He looks to his older runners to be role models for the younger athletes to help carry them through the season.

“Build character and make good decisions,” he said to his team. “Make goals and be fueled by motivation.”

The major weakness to point out for the Lions this season is the lack of depth. This means they need to get all the big points they can and keep those small points from creeping up on them.

“We have to get the younger guys up there,” senior returning state runner Kumar Pinkney said. “The open events will be important to score in.”

“We have to replace the points we have lost, score in the open events and follow up with strong relays,” senior Kevin Scheuerman, a returning state champion runner, said.

Although he teaches at Goddard during the day, Vigil has still developed strong bonds with each team member already.

“He has a tough spot to fill with coach Kula leaving,” Scheuerman said. “He has done a great job transitioning and has been very understanding and accepting.”

The bond extends way beyond coach and runner to within the team itself.

“Our true strength is that we really come together as a team,” Scheuerman said. “We are all friends and hang out even those new members. There is no separatism. It is important that we incorporate the younger classes as we are all on the same team, and they will represent the Lions for the coming years.”

The Littleton girls team finished second out of six teams overall in the Littleton City Championship April 3 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium, while the boys team finished third.


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