Hard winter training yields spring track benefits for Rayl

Katie Hodges

For many athletes, it normally takes two or three seasons of hard work to even think about placing at state, but this was not the case for runner Patrick Rayl.

Rayl, a sophomore, took fifth in state in the two mile last year, and is currently working hard to maintain his winning streak.

Rayl, who also runs the one-mile, said he has been “preparing to work hard to get to state.”

During a long Montana winter, however, this isn’t easy. Rayl has been preparing by running on the stairs and by running in the cold, but he won’t run if it is too snowy out.

“If it’s really cold out, I just work on endurance,” Rayl said. “It seems harder to breathe.”

But track coach Doug Darko thinks that this will end up paying off for Rayl in the end, and he has even made a bet with Rayl to inspire him to a win.

“If he wins the state meet, Coach Darko will shave his head,” Darko said.  “It would be well worth it.”

Darko recognizes the work Rayl has put in over the winter.

“He’s trained pretty hard all winter long,” Darko said. “He’s quite a ways ahead of where he was last year.”

Along with looking for a time improvement, Darko hopes Rayl makes all-state, or places in the top six.

Rayl is simply proud of how far he has come.

“It makes me feel like I worked really hard to get to where I am.”