Hayden ‘home’ meet today at Craig track | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden ‘home’ meet today at Craig track

— Lengthy travel is a natural part of Western Slope League sports, but rarely is life on the road more regular than for track teams.

That’s part of what makes today’s Hayden-hosted meet in Craig such a treat, Tigers track coach Barbara Manzanares said.

The team will compete at home – or as close to it as Hayden High School’s dirt track will allow.

“It’s a lot more exciting when you get to host it,” the team’s second-year coach said. “It’s more exciting for the kids, and it gives us some really good exposure.”

Hayden hasn’t hosted a track meet for several years. Manzanares said the school traditionally trades off a home meet every other year with North Park, but the Wildcats lost interest in the deal.

Now, Hayden hopes to establish a tradition with its invitational.

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“We’re looking forward to it,” Manzanares said.

The meet, which includes Hayden’s Class 2A Western Slope rivals Rangely, Soroco and Meeker along with other teams from around the region, starts at noon today at the Moffat County High School track complex.

The day will start with the javelin throw. Although the Colorado High School Activities Association doesn’t sanction the event, there’s a movement to have it included in the season-ending CHSAA state meet within the next couple years.

It will be a scored event today.

The rest of the field events kick off at 1 p.m., and the running events start at 1:30.

While the event offers fans and families a rare chance to see Hayden’s athletes perform close to home, there are a few Tigers everyone will want to keep an eye on.

Hayden already has qualified two competitors to the state meet.

High jumper Murphy Smartt is eyeing the school record of 6 feet, 3 1/4 inches. He qualified for state at the first meet of the season, then won again last weekend at the Demon Invitational in Glenwood Springs.

The boys high jump immediately will follow the girls high jump, which starts at 1 p.m.

Senior Holli Salazar also qualified for state and won the shot put last weekend in Glenwood.

Salazar is the defending Class 2A state champion and will attempt to keep an astonishing streak going. She’s reset the school record in each of her last four meets, a streak that dates back to last spring’s league track meet.

Her current best is 42 feet, 2 1/2 inches, just 12 1/2 inches short of the Class 2A state record.

Girls shot put starts at 1 p.m.

If you go

What: Hayden Tiger Invitational

When: noon today

Where: Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane, Craig

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