Wed, June 19

Young Camp Verde track sees participation numbers jump

Camp Verde senior Chris Holdgrafer has won all his hurdles races so far this year. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde senior Chris Holdgrafer has won all his hurdles races so far this year. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde High track and field features a young and plentiful squad.

The Cowboys opened the season last week at Wickenburg and at the NPA Skydome Classic at NAU.

“We’re actually looking really good,” CV head coach Amy Wall said. “We have 51 kids out, last we ended with about 20, so it’s been a very pleasant surprise. We have 34 underclassmen, so it’s a pretty young team and we have I think five seniors that are expected to do really well as well.”

The track and field Cowboys are working with coaches of other CV programs.

“My biggest thing right now is working with the coaches from the other sports,” Wall said on Tuesday at practice. “So I’ve been talking with the football coach, the volleyball coach and then (athletic director/boys basketball head coach) Dan (Wall) and trying to get as many of their athletes out as possible and kind of putting more emphasis on their sport, so for the basketball/volleyball players, we’ve been working on plyometrics a lot. For the football players a lot of speed and stuff like that. And also I’ve been giving them to their other coaches when they have like spring football I’ll send them to the football coach. The volleyball players are actually in the gym right now with (volleyball head coach) Britney (Armstrong) doing volleyball stuff, so I’m trying to be more flexible in having the athletes do what they want to do but being here for track most of the time So that’s helped get a lot of numbers out.”

The first couple meets were against bigger schools like Prescott, Chino Valley, Wickenburg and Mingus Union, but seniors Christopher Holdgrafer and Damian Wathogoma have shine. Holdgrafer has won all his hurdles races so far and Wathogoma got a PR in the shot put in Flagstaff.

“The first couple of meets there was a lot of big schools, but a lot of kids progressed and did better each time, so that was fun to see,” Wall said. “Chris, last year he was our main guy, but he has won everything he’s done. He won the hurdles at Wickenburg, both hurdles, he won the hurdles at NAU, so he’s doing really well. Also Damian, our thrower, he won at Wickenburg as well and did really well at NAU. So it’s been fun to see them get better as well.”

The Cowboys have started strong despite the various rain and snow outs. They have a dirt track.

“Yeah it was bad, we got set back probably two weeks just because we were in shape and doing well then we had to take like four days off when they closed down the school, so that hurt a lot but we’re getting back on track hopefully,” Wall said about the weather.

This is Wall’s first season as track and field head coach and she’s enjoyed it.

“I’ve loved it,” Wall said. “The kids are such good kids and I’ve been around a lot of them for basketball and volleyball. So it’s been a lot of fun to see in this different atmosphere and track is so relaxed and kind of more of a social sport, so it’s really fun to get to know the kids more.”

Wall said it helps her relate to the Cowboys since she competed for Camp Verde not that long ago and one of her assistants is a familiar face.

“Another cool thing is my head assistant is my mom (Lori Showers), who I coached under for four years and she was the head track coach here for 12 years. So she’s been a huge help and that’s been really neat.”

The future of the program looks bright.

“We’re just a really young team,” Wall said. “This year I don’t expect to be amazing but I feel like it’s building towards the future.”