Polson High School track athlete Colton Cote is still rebounding from taking a year’s sabbatical from participating in track and field events.
The fact Cote is still regaining his confidence and finding his ability may be scary to his opposition since Cote just captured first place in the 110-meter hurdles in one of Western Montana’s most prestigious races recording a time of 15.53 seconds in the Top-10 Meet Tuesday afternoon at MCPS Stadium in Missoula.
“I honestly have never asked him about taking a year off but I approached him and he will always say ‘man, I wish I didn’t take last year off,’” Pirates, Lady Pirates’ co-head coach Melinda Withrow said. “Last year was my first year as head coach and he wasn’t used to something. I think he didn’t want to be a part of that big change. Other kids started talking about how much they enjoyed it and he says now ‘I wish I would have gone out for the track.’ I haven’t asked him (why he didn’t), I am just glad he did this year.”
Deciding to admit he didn’t’ start out of the blocks (in the 110-meter race) well, Cote said he made up for lost time.
“Right out of the blocks, I knew it wasn’t a good start because everybody passed me,” Cote said. “I just got down on my hurdles and got the speed in between them to fight back. Winning this one gives me a lot of confidence heading forward the rest of the season.”
According to his coach Melinda Withrow, it is Cote’s competitive desire that has driven him to have a successful season after his one-year hiatus from competition.
“I think when he first came back after taking a year off, he even said ‘he could tell the difference,’ and when he took that year off, it took him a little bit to come back into his own,” Withrow said.
Comebacks in athletics are usually a daunting hurdle to overcome and in Cote’s case, reaching his optimal potential after taking a year off isn’t easy for any athlete.
“An athlete like him works hard and anything that you ask him to do, he does,” Withrow said. “If I told him next weekend he would run in the 1,600-meter run, he would do it. He’s the type of player that doesn’t complain and buys into our program completely. He does all of the little things right, even down to his warm-ups.”
Cote has placed first in his last two 110-meter competitions including the Sapphire Twilight Invitational recording a personal record of 15.39 seconds and the Missoula Top-10.
“For him, I would say a huge part is the physical and he is just a lot better in the 400-meter that came a little harder to him,” Withrow said. “He is a lot bigger than he used to be and that plays really well into the 110-meter because he is a powerful person. He uses all of that speed and strength he gained from playing football into having a successful 110-meter dash.”
Withrow said he felt his strength, timing and rhythm are key contributing factors that predicated Cote’s success.
“He has built such strength, timing and rhythm,” Withrow said. “He really steps over those hurdles and doesn’t waste a lot of time in the air. He clearly does a good job at that.”
One person that Withrow says Cote draws a lot of inspiration from is his teammate and friend Connor Lanier.
“The desire is there and (Connor) is such a good kid,” Withrow said. He and Connor go head-to-head on those things. They are fighting for that No. 1 spot, encouraging each other and are alongside each other. It’s nice to see that because Connor hasn’t been able to compete as much and Colton keeps coming right back to that competitive drive that he shows in practice.”
The symbiotic relationship Lanier and Cote have developed has translated to success on the track for both competitors.
“Connor is one of the nicest kids to possibly have and I didn’t know Cote before this year,” Winthrow said. “Both of them are so polite and willing to do anything that you ask. Both of them are the type of athletes that will ask ‘what I did wrong?’ and are just chomping at the bit to be better.”
Withrow said she is “pleased” with Cote’s approach towards improving and said she felt he still hasn’t reached his peak potential.
“I am pleased with how our team is doing in general,” Winthrow said. “We are getting better and better every single day and the best is yet to come.”
- Bob Gunderson contributed to this story
20th Annual RUSS PILCHER TOP TEN
MCPS Stadium, Missoula
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
800 – 1, 1:59.50; 7, James Normandeau, Ronan, 2:04.76.
1600 – 1, 4:18.02; 6, Quin Stewart, Polson, 4:41.22; 7, Wills Degrandpre, Charlo, 4:44.79.
110HH – 1. Colton Cote, Polson, 15.53; 2. Mason VanVallis, Big Sky, 15.86; 3. Quinn Sullivan, Butte, 15.93.
HJ – 1, 6-02; 6, Wyatt Duke, Bigfork, 6-00; 8, Logan Taylor, Bigfork, 5-08.
PV – 1, 15-03; 6, Ben Windauer, C.Falls, 13-00; 8, Landers Smith, Charlo, 12-06.
100 – 1, 12.69; 6, Tyrah Hammond, Charlo, 13.00; 7, Carlee Fryberger, Charlo, 13.19; 10, Jordan Nelson, Bigfork, 13.35.
200 – 1, 26.15; 2, Tyrah Hammond, Charlo, 26.50; 3, Carlee Fryberger, Charlo, 26.61.
400 – 1, 59.56; 2, Haile Norred, Bigfork, 59.86; .
800 – 1, 2:21.59; 2, Natalie Yocum, Frenchtown (formerly Arlee), 2:22.52; .
1600 – 1, Bryn Morley, Bigfork, 4:50.05; 4, Bea Frissell, 5:13.60.
3200 – 1, Annie Hill, Glacier, 10:38.08; 3, Anya Young, Bigfork, 11:51.13; 8, Molly Sitter, Polson, 12:28.20; 10, Naima Crowl, Polson, 12:33.78.
100HH – 1, 14.92; 8, Carlee Fryberger, Charlo, 16.30.
4x100 – 1, 49.92; 5, Bigfork (Madison Gardner, Jordon Nelson, Shae Anderson, Haile Norred), 51.06; 10, Charlo (Kaitlin Cox, Tyrah Hammond, Liev Smith, Carlee Fryberger), 53.18.
4x400 – no time: Charlo.
SP – 1. Jessica Thompson, Plains, 40-01.00;
Disc – 1, 140-06; 4, Jessica Thompson, Plains, 129-01.
Jav – 1, 133-00; 8, Lindsay Laws, Plains, 112-03.
TJ – 1, 38-10.50; 8, Kaitlin Cox, Charlo, 32-04.
Full meet results can be viewed online at < www.athletic.net > or elsewhere.