Routt County track teams compete in rough weather |

Routt County track teams compete in rough weather

Steamboat, Hayden and Soroco high schools travel to Glenwood Springs for Demon Invitational

Hayden High School's Krista Tomke peeks over her shoulder Saturday during the 800-meter run at the Demon Invitational in Glenwood Springs. Tomke finished sixth in the event.

— She doesn’t come with a small tag that says “Gore-Tex,” but Hayden High School senior Holli Salazar proved herself to be weatherproof Saturday.

As persistent rain showers slowed most athletes at the Demon Invitational high school track meet in Glenwood Springs and flat-out stopped others – two schools packed up and went home at noon – Salazar continued to lay down astonishing performances.

Competing for the first time this season, the reigning Class 2A state shot put champion continued the unbelievable run she started last season. She again won the shot put, this time with a throw of 42 feet, 2.5 inches.

With that throw, she blasted an enormous shot across the bow of anyone hoping to dethrone her in her senior season. And, throwing on a rainy day with just two weeks of practice this spring, she improved her personal best for the fourth consecutive meet, a record dating back to the middle of last spring.

“It was my first track meet, so I was a little nervous and knew I had a target on my back,” Salazar said, as if she actually was worried about losing. “So, I just went out there and threw it. I thought I’d throw about the same but not farther.”

Her early season form was good enough to win Saturday’s competition by a cool 8 feet, 3 inches. It again set the school record and reset a 13-year-old meet record, as well.

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It was 6 3/4 inches longer than her state championship winning throw, which itself was 17 inches longer than the toss that won her last year’s regional championship.

In all, Salazar has added 8 feet to her shot put in the past year.

“I thought maybe she’d get to 40 feet with one throw,” Hayden coach Barbara Manzanares said. “Maybe. Turns out, she didn’t have a single throw less than 40 feet.”

Salazar wasn’t the only Tiger to soak up a top finish on the otherwise miserable day.

Junior high jumper Murphy Smartt won the boys high jump. He was the only jumper to clear 6 feet. He found his match when he took an opportunity to set the bar at whatever height he wanted for his final jumps.

He immediately opted for 6 feet, 3 1/2 inches. It would have been a school record, but he missed on his three attempts.

“Today was not a good day to try for it,” Smartt said. “It was too slick, and I couldn’t get any speed. I can get it, though. If I get my form right, I can get to 6-5.”

Elsewhere, Hayden got points from a sixth-place finish by Krista Tomke in the 800-meter run and a seventh-place leap from Treyben Letlow in the boys triple jump.

Jake Walker was fourth in the 100 and seventh in the long jump.

Soroco rolls in relays

The rain might not have bothered Salazar, but eight hours of running and jumping in the muck left the members of Soroco’s girls 1,600-meter relay team frustrated.

“I know I didn’t run very well earlier, so the (1,600 relay) was our chance to make us feel better about the day,” Traci Schlegel said.

They got their revenge. Consistent splits by Lauryn Bruggink, Schlegel and Ceanna Rossi, and a furious final lap by senior Sarajane Rossi, catapulted the team to a second-place finish.

Sarajane Rossi caught West Grand’s final runner with about 120 meters remaining to bump the team up from third.

“We have a little competitive rivalry with West Grand, so that was nice,” she said. “It was neck-and-neck almost the whole way.”

Soroco’s boys 1,600 relay team also was successful. Alex Estes, David Strait, Cody Miles and Ryan Tibbetts combined to finish fourth.

Matt Watwood earned two top finishes. He was third with a discus throw of 138 feet, 8 1/2 inches and fifth in the shot put with a toss of 43 feet, 3 inches.

Estes was sixth in the long jump and seventh in the high jump.

The boys 800 relay team of Estes, Tibbetts, Miles and Jonathan Bell was seventh, and the girls team of Sarajane Rossi, Bruggink, Lindsay Miles and Schlegel was fifth.

“Considering the conditions, the kids really fought through,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “Mentally, it was really hard to get going because it was cold. There weren’t a ton of great times because of that.”

Cutter leads Steamboat

Steamboat Springs senior John Cutter was second in the 1,600 and sixth in the 800, but, like so many other racers, he mostly was just frustrated after it was all over.

“Good result. Really bad time,” he said, summing up his best race in a few words.

He finished the 1,600 in 4 minutes, 57.21 seconds, less than a second behind first-place Conner Roper, of Basalt.

“I got a workout in. That’s really what this meet was for,” Cutter said. “Those really weren’t the times I was looking for.”

Steamboat also scored with a seventh-place finish from Kimberly Heald in the 100 and a sixth-place showing by Morgan Bessette in the girls long jump.

The team’s relays also fared well.

Cutter joined Peter Daley, Jacob Brenner and Gus Allen for a fifth-place finish in the 3,200 relay.

Brenner, Kaelen Gunderson, Lucas Stover and Dylan Pivarnik were second in the 800 relay.

The girls medley relay team with Anna Poirot, Jorid Halsnes, Corinne Landry and Brittany Long was seventh, while the 800 relay squad of Claire Tegl, Bessette, Emily Rabbitt and Heald finished fourth.