The heptathlon? Why not?
One last prep chance at breaking 11 in the 100? Why not?
Durango High School track stars Chrissy Slanger and Gus Barnes made the most of their offseason invitations to last weekend's Great Southwest Track and Field Classic in Albuquerque.
Slanger tried out the heptathlon for the first time.
Barnes finally broke 11 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
"Not everybody is invited to these things," Demons track coach Mark Dutro said.
In fact, Slanger earned a late invitation per Dutro's request. Barnes and senior Ian Cross earned invitations from longtime Front Range coach Maurice Henriques, or "Coach Mo" to his colleagues and student-athletes, the man in charge of Colorado's selections to the regional meet.
"Chrissy, she just wanted to do it," said Dutro, who called Henriques with the special request.
Slanger, according to Dutro, finished 21st out of 24 girls competing from Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
"She was doing things in competition that she had never done before," he said. "She kind of had that 'What am I doing here?' look on her face after some of the events, but she ended up placing well."
Not as well as she had hoped, though.
"It went OK," Slanger said Thursday night. "It didn't go as well as I would have liked it to go."
The heptathlon consisted of the shot put, javelin, high jump and long jump in field events and the 200-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and an open 800-meter run in track events.
Slanger competed in the long jump and the 200 her senior season at DHS this spring.
"I think we found out she should've been doing a few other things for us, too," Dutro said.
Slanger "barely brushed" the bar at 5.25 in the high jump, Dutro said.
"I was really excited to see her do so well," he said. "She was like, 'Wow, look what I just did.'"
Slanger hopes to walk on to the track team at Mesa State College in Grand Junction next year.
"(Coach Dutro) just decided I would be good at it," she said of the heptathlon. "When I was at practice, sometimes I would be off just playing hurdles, doing other stuff.
"I'm not really great at just one thing, but I'm pretty good at a lot of things," said Slanger, who finished ninth overall in the long jump at this year's Class 5A State Track and Field Championships.
Barnes, the Demons' fastest runner all season long, set a preseason goal of a sub-11 second 100 meters. He never reached that goal during the season, including at the state meet where the two-sport star (football) failed to qualify for the finals.
Barnes ran a 10.84 in Albuquerque.
"There was a bit of a tailwind, but mostly a crosswind," Dutro said.
Nevertheless, it was a personal best.
"I was trying for that all season long," Barnes said. "It finally worked out."
Of the two heats - "the best of the best and the everybody else," as Dutro described it - Barnes finished fifth overall in "the everybody else" category.
"I think the heat had a lot to do with it," Barnes said. "I was running against a lot of kids about the same speed as me."
Barnes also competed in the 4x100-meter relay at the regional meet.
"He had a good weekend," Dutro said.
Cross, who competed in the 800 (did not place) and the Demons' 4x400-meter relay (ninth place) and 4x800-meter relay (ninth place) at this year's state meet, ran the 800 and 4x800 relay at the regional summer meet.
"Ian kind of had a rough weekend," Dutro said. "Training-wise, he just needed a break."
Cross was unavailable for comment Thursday night.
Barnes was the Southwestern League 100-meter champion, while Slanger was the SWL long jump champion this season. Cross was one-fourth of the Demons' school-record setting 4x800 relay team this season with a time of 8:03.59.
All three student-athletes helped the Demons to their first league championship this season, the first time in 15 years the conference has held such an event because of the Colorado High School Activities Association's decision to eliminate Regionals for Class 4A and 5A schools.
"It was pretty fun," said Barnes, who plans on attending a couple of meets this June in the Front Range, including a Junior Olympics quailfier June 20.
"It was pretty cool."