Sometimes even the dedicated athlete needs a reminder of his or her capabilities.
A wake-up call, if you will.
Trevor Gabbard got one of his on the nation's birthday-and wasn't aware he would be until that very morning, when thanks to a bit of a paternal push, the Wolverine arose from bed and not only ran the Bayfield Firecracker 5K, but laid down the race's second-swiftest time.
"Almost got John Cusick!" the senior harrier laughed Tuesday night, recovering from the 2014 cross-country season's first two practice days. "Ran 17:13, but he got me by a few seconds at the end."
Running close behind a former BHS and current Colorado Mesa University standout, nearly registering a sub-17, and doing so early enough to still get a refueling bite at the Bayfield Lions Club's pancake breakfast.. all signs that Gabbard has big plans for this fall.
"Three goals, actually," he firmly stated, having recovered from last year's freak injury incurred the evening before the state meet. "One, of course, is the state championship. Number two is to get a place at the Nike Cross Nationals, and three is to run a sub-15:30. Hoping to take 45 seconds off my best."
"Training.it really depends on the day," he continued. "Long workouts, I've been going anywhere from seven to ten miles. On those days where I only do 30-minute workouts, probably three miles or so. And I've been doing some cross-training; I don't really get a break during the summer."
Remembering the abundance of youth on the squad in 2013, Gabbard's other major impact for coach Josh Walton, though, might be to simply step into the leadership role vacated by now-graduated Lady Wolverine star Eva-Lou Edwards-a task he welcomes.
"I enjoy it. I'm a motivator, I guess you could say," he said. "I just push everybody to be their best. But.I can also just have fun with everybody at the same time."
Bayfield's 272 points at last year's Class 3A State Championships in Colorado Springs landed them 19th out of 20 teams, but the experience itself should boost a roster that could also return now-seniors Luke Webb and Caleb Sapa, as well as sophomores Joey Sandrey, Alex Knight and Alex Svanes and freshman Sloan Mazur.
Webb's 16th-place 17:49.9 was the Wolverine boys' best time during the ultimate crunch time last year at the state meet. Barring another knee injury the night before state, Walton hopes his Wolverines remain healthy and have a strong year.