HURDLE MOBILITY — Sunnyside High School sophomore Alaina Morgan joins her teammates in working out to be more explosive while increasing their range of motion and preventing injury during Thursday afternoon’s two-hour practice.

SUNNYSIDE — Around this time last year, winter temperatures were in the air and the ground remained frozen with snow – what a difference a season makes as more than 130 Grizzly athletes turned out for the track team on Monday, March 2.

“I am super excited about the numbers and our returning talent,” SHS track and field coach Dustin Crowe conveyed. “We’ve got a good group of young kids and a nice mix of returning veterans.”

Coach said he has been really pleased with their enthusiastic attitudes and work ethic, along with a willingness to try new sporting routines on the fourth day of spring practice.

Sophomore Alaina Morgan enjoys the difficulty of running hurdles, the 300-meter event to be specific. Track and field runs in her family and by the end of last season, she had discovered her technical stride to match her athletic abilities which challenges the multisport athlete to excel.

“I like that it’s not just an open sprint and that I’m not just thinking about the fact that I have to be running,” Morgan acknowledged. She credits her older sister for inspiring her to run the 100-meter hurdles in middle school.

Now, she runs both the 100 and 300 hurdles with her favorite being the longer event. “It’s less impact. You have more time to think and the 100 scares me,” she stated.

Team members are trying to find their role or redefine their niche and what they can be successful at while having fun. “At the same time, we try to identify talents and steer them in a direction in which they will excel,” Crowe explained.

Senior Mike Rivera was Sunnyside’s only 4A state multi-event placer in the 100 and 200-meter and plans to improve upon his fourth and seventh place finishes this year.

“I want to do something for my community, even if it’s as small as winning a state title or getting as close as possible. Making my coaches and family proud, along with my school,” Rivera expressed, who has been lifting weights and running sprints since the end of football season.

This year, there will be two state berths awarded which coach believes will benefit his athletes in quite a few events. He confirmed the team’s focus right now is all about improving from March to May.

One of those athletes who has been working out and getting ready for the upcoming season is sophomore Myles Newhouse.

“I’ve been looking forward to this,” Newhouse, exclaimed. The dual sport athlete finished third at Districts in the 400-meters with plans for winning state.

“I like winning, plain and simple. In track, I can achieve that. It’s more individual than football and gets my confidence up,” the motivated runner affirmed.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email

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