RISE sprint coach Morgan Tilong has recently created is own version of the word “slash”, in athletic jargon a word normally reserved for athletes concurrently competing in football and baseball. Tilong’s athletic pursuits fall along more alternative lines – track and bobsled – following the lead of former world-class hurdler, Lolo Jones.
As a sprinter, the 28 year-old Tilong, a Systems Test Engineer at Ball Aerospace, improved his Personal Best (PR) to 50.5 for 400-meters on the track last summer. But, inspired by Jones who competed for the US Olympic Bobsled Team after her hurdling career, be signed-up for a bobsled “combine” held at Colorado College last June. He scored high enough in the standing long jump, 40-meter sprint, and medicine ball throw to earn an invitation to the bobsled training camp at Lake Placid later in the summer. There, aspiring athletes pushed a “dryland” sled for a chance to advance to the US Bobsled Developmental Team and Tilong performed just well enough to advance to the next qualification level.
“The US Bobsled Team consists of lifters, sprinters, and cross-fit competitors,” explained Tilong. “No experience is required, just explosive power. Whoever can push a sled the fastest over 45-meters on ice makes the team. The best times are in the low “4’s”, but a 4.5 could make the team. I tested out at 4.7 but I know I can push a 4.5, which puts me in contention for a spot on the “B” (developmental) team.
Tilong’s next step in his quest to qualify for the US Bobsled team is the full-time training camp at Lake Placid, New York. “I need to commit full-time,” declared Tilong. “And I need to gain 15 pounds of muscle to push with the best guys. The top US guy does nothing but squats to strengthen his quads. I’ve been in the gym several days a week and I am much stronger than last year but I still have a long way to go.