Routt athletes shine at meet in Moffat |

Routt athletes shine at meet in Moffat

— The sun arrived Monday just in time for athletes from Hayden and Soroco high schools to shine at the Moffat County track.

“I think the really exciting thing about this meet was the weather,” Hayden coach Barbara Manzanares said. “We also had some good finishes, but it was just great to see our athletes get the chance to get out on a track with some good weather for a change.”

The meet, which was hosted by Hayden High School in Craig, showcased athletes from six Western Slope high schools, including Hayden and Soroco. Regional teams including North Park, Rangely, Meeker and the junior varsity team from Moffat County High School also competed.

Hayden won the boys and girls titles. North Park was second and Soroco third on the girls side. Soroco placed second, behind Hayden, in the boys competition.

The Tigers got wins from senior Holli Salazar in the discus and shot put, and from sprinter Calla Manzanares in the 100-meter run.

Salazar threw 101 feet, 10 inches in the discus and hit 40.5 feet in the shot. Salazar was pushed by teammates Brittany Turner, who finished second in the discus with a throw of 88 feet 5 inches, and Aubree Haskins, who finished second in the shot at 31-3.

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Calla Manzanares led the field in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.72. She added a sixth-place finish in the 200-meter dash.

Manzanares, Delanie Vedepo, Aspen Zabel and Kaitlyn Jezo placed second in the 3,200-meter relay with a time of 11:41.46. Hayden also collected a third in the 400-meter relay, where the team of Vedepo, Manzanares, Salazar and Haskins earned a time of 54:28.

Hayden took three of the top five finishes in the 800-meter run with the help of Vedepo, who finished second at 2:41. Zabel was third and Jezo was fifth. Maddison Kopsa was second in the triple jump with an effort of 30-7.5. Haskins was third at 30-2.5, Vedepo was fourth at 29-10.5 and McCoy Howe was sixth at 28-2.75.

Hayden also competed in the javelin for the first time, and collected four of the top six finishes in the event. North Park’s Hillary Rizor won the meet with a throw of 74-8. Hayden’s Tyra Monger placed second with a throw of 61-1, and Haskins was third at 50-3.

The Soroco girls also turned in a strong showing with first-place finishes in the 400-meter dash, the 300-meter hurdles and the 800-meter relay.

Sarajane Rossi won the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:07.32, just edging out teammates Lauryn Bruggink in second at 1:08.59, Ceanna Rossi in third at 1:10:32 and Carmen Mathews in fourth at 1:12.66.

Soroco’s Traci Schlegel collected the top finish in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 52:58. Soroco’s 400-meter relay team finished second at the meet.

On the boys side, Monday’s meet came down to a duel between Hayden and cross-county rival Soroco.

The Tigers got a boost from Chris Zirkle, who collected first-place finishes in the 1,600-meter at 4:58.92, and 3,200-meter at 10:49.58). Jake Walker added first-place finishes in the long jump, at 19-11.5, and in the 200-meter, with a time of 22.44. Murphy Smartt also was first in the high jump. Hayden’s 400-meter relay team, which included Zehner, Braylin Wertenberger, Coy Letlow and Walker, also earned the top spot.

Hayden’s 3,200-meter relay team, which included Brentt Gabel, Ben Fulton, Jon Lee and Rene Valdez, placed second.

Zehner also earned a second in the long jump with an effort of 19 feet.

Valdez was second in the high jump with an effort of 6 feet. Hayden’s 1,600-meter relay team of Gabel, Fulton, Blake Hayden and Lee also earned a second at the meet.

Alex Estes, Matt Watwood and Soroco’s 3,200-meter relay team, which included Ben Strait, Jaden Baker, Pie Lombardi and Michael Rossi, all posted first-place finishes.

Estes collected first-place finishes in the 400-meter dash, at 54.21 seconds, and the triple jump at 40 feet 5 inches. Meanwhile, Watwood earned first-place points in the discus with a throw of 145 feet 2.5 inches, shot put at 45-7.5 and javelin at 121-8.

Estes also had a fourth in the long jump, David Strait was third in the 400 and Dylan Delamater was second in the discus with a throw of 126-10.

Hayden and Soroco will head to the league meet this week in West Grand.

Steamboat track members fare well in Arizona

Despite gusts that reached upward of 50 mph, three Steamboat Springs High School distance runners fared well Saturday in Page, Ariz.

Leading the way for the Sailors was senior John Cutter, who ran his best 3,200-meter time of the year in 10 minutes, 19.78 seconds. Cutter was in third for most of the race, but with 500 meters left he moved into second place, where he would finish.

“John ran a good time despite the conditions,” Steamboat distance coach Greg Long said. “It was by far his best time of the year.”

Jeff Sperry and Brittany Long each performed well despite the conditions. Sperry finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54:95. With the wind, Sperry took a different approach than most of the field. Sperry ran aggressively into the wind during the first 200 meters and relaxed on his last 200 meters. This allowed Sperry to build early leads and still run fast when the wind was at his back.

Brittany Long finished fifth in the 1,600-meter run, running a 5:52.29. The winds were the most tough during the 1,600. Greg Long said the key in distance races in windy conditions is to stay in a pack and draft.

Unfortunately, Brittany Long let the lead pack get ahead of her, leaving her to run the race all by herself.

The Steamboat track and field team next competes in Friday and Saturday’s Tiger Invitational in Grand Junction.

– Luke Graham