LAFAYETTE — The Peak to Peak girls track and field team has a bright future.
Shining brightest at the heart of that shimmering future is Quinn McConnell. And as a freshman who has already won a cross country state title and a pair of track titles, the excitement surrounding the Pumas track program would appear to extend well down the line.
For 2016, McConnell is the BoCoPreps.com track and field female athlete of the year.
"I'm happy with everything that happened," McConnell said of her first prep season. "Coming from the cross country season and being a part of such a competitive team was great. I'm especially happy for Anna (Shults) and all the other freshmen for the way they were all able to do well too."
McConnell won the 3A cross country state meet in the fall and was named BoCoPreps.com cross country female runner of the year. At the track and field state championships in the spring, she won the 3A 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 16.02 seconds. That's less than five seconds off the state meet record.
McConnell also anchored the Pumas' state championship 3,200-meter relay to a winning time of 9:47.71. In the open 1,600, her time of 5:12.37 placed her second behind freshman teammate Anna Shults.
As outstanding as McConnell has been early in her prep career, she's far from the only promising young runner in the Peak to Peak program. Including McConnell and Shults, the Pumas had four freshmen and two sophomores who qualified for the state meet. Pumas underclassmen alone claimed seven individual medals this spring.
"I think it's awesome," McConnell said. "We will lose a few seniors and we will miss them. But they helped set us up for the future and we all realize that we have a chance to go out there and try to set records and things like that over the next few years."
In the team scoring at state, the Pumas went from placing 17th last year to third in 2016. In her second year as head coach, Quinn's mother, Kim McConnell, isn't shy about acknowledging the potent youth movement underway at Peak to Peak and what that could mean for the future.
"It has been a good start. It was a great track season. Quinn was still kind of figuring out which events she liked the best so we tried a lot of different things throughout the spring. We really focused on the team and really encouraging each on other. I definitely have been given a gift as a coach.
"It's super fun to think about the next three years. I think what we're really going to focus on is being a really great team. We're not going to talk about titles, although we're as competitive as the next year. It's going to be all about becoming a good team and going out and trying to do whatever we can do on each day when we compete."