Girls’ track team charged up for the new season
By Micah Knebel

The Denver girls’ track and field team has been ready for this new season since the end of the last one.

“The team has been preparing for this season since June,” said head coach Abby Fliehler. “I had to hold my girls back from starting training the week after state track.”

The program ended its 2022 season as both the district and conference champs. The conference title had been the first the program had won in 30 years. The team advanced 12 events to state and finished fourth overall.

When the girls closed out the season, those successes left them hungry for more.

“We want a state trophy,” said Coach Fliehler. “We were six points away from this last year, and we return almost our entire squad from last year. We want to defend our conference and district team titles.

“We have added ten more runners to our team after graduating only two seniors so we know we can take more events to state than ever before,” Fliehler added. “Our goal is to break several more school records so we have every relay record at Denver, qualify at least four events for Drake Relays, and qualify at least 14 events for state. We are looking to bring home individual and relay state championships after finishing runner-up in two relays and third place in the 200 and distance medley.”

New to the schedule this year will be competition at Iowa City High against top-place, 4A teams and a relay event in Kansas. In addition to the Drake Relays, Fliehler sees these events an opportunity to push the girls even further than they are now.
The stepping stones of this success has been the work ethic and the culture of the Denver girls’ program.

“Many people consider track an individual sport,” said the coach, “but our team is about one another. We are strong enough to score in multiple events at state and understand that they will compete in what is best for their team, not necessarily what their favorite event is. Selflessness and holding a safe space for young women to be themselves, grow and push each other is a unique goal that the girls created. They want to be competing for each other, not against each other. That is pretty powerful stuff. As a coach, my goal is to empower young women through sport, and they have embraced this and definitely thrive in that type of atmosphere.

“This has been an incredibly special group of young ladies who have accomplished a lot,” said Fliehler, “but we are not satisfied. We know we are capable of more titles and more improvement. They know that if we can continue the positive vibe and close-knit unit from last year, we can achieve things Denver has never done before. My biggest challenge will be reigning them from overtraining as they all want to be pushed to be the best.”
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