Odneal ready to run for Buffs
Midway through her freshman soccer season, then-Palisade High School track coach Joey Kowalczyk approached Holly Odneal about running the hurdles after the soccer season was over.
Kowalczyk had done the same thing with Kaity Edmiston a few years prior, with good results. Edmiston earned a partial track scholarship at Colorado School of Mines.
Looking back on it, Odneal is glad she made the decision to run hurdles. She qualified at the regional meet for the Class 4A state track & field championships as a freshman.
Three years later, it’s also paid some dividends for her.
Odneal signed a national letter of intent Monday to attend the University of Colorado on a track scholarship.
After weighing options from the University of Nevada-Reno and some Rocky Mountain Athletic Schools, among others, Boulder seemed like a good fit .
“It was a huge school,” the 4.0 student and Superintendent Scholar said, “and they do a lot to take care of their athletes.”
Primarily a 100-meter hurdler and high jumper in high school, Odneal is being projected as a heptathlete for the Buffaloes.
Kowalczyk took her to New Mexico last June to compete in an invitation-only heptathlon for high school athletes. During certain meets the past couple of years, Odneal has competed in the shot put and long jump in addition to her other events.
At the 4A state track meet last weekend, she tied for fourth in the high jump and finished eighth in the 100 hurdles.
“The biggest thing is her overall athletic ability,” Palisade track coach Tim Reetz said of Odneal’s capacity to compete in the seven events.
“It’s her natural body size, her natural athletic ability,” he said.
She’ll have little trouble competing in the hurdles and high jump. The shot put and the javelin, pose a bigger challenge.
Having run the hurdles and legs of relays for Palisade, the sprint events should not be a problem.
“I’ll have to work on the 800 (meters) a lot,” she said.
Odneal made her official campus visit last month, liked the school and liked CU’s multi-event coach, Lindsey Malone.
Odneal plans to major in business management at CU.
She won’t have long to adjust to academics at a major university before fall track practice begins.
“The second week of school, we’re on it,” she said.