100 hurdles a nightmare no more for Soroco’s Rossi | SteamboatToday.com

100 hurdles a nightmare no more for Soroco’s Rossi

Soroco's Mattie Rossi leaps the final hurdle Sunday on her way to a second-place finish. She was hoping for first, sure, but said she'd never been more relieved to finish a race and was thrilled with the result.

The thought of the 100-meter hurdles at the state track meet didn't haunt Soroco High School junior Mattie Rossi in the philosophical sense. It haunted her in the "stay up at night" sense.

She made the state finals in the event in each of her first two years in high school.

Things went poorly her freshman season, when she fell over a hurdle as she was racing for the championship.

Things went considerably worse last year, when she was the No. 1 seed in the finals by a wide margin, a state championship only 100 meters away.

She rocked in her blocks before the starter's gun went off, however, and was disqualified for a false start.

"This whole season, the blocks were what I had to conquer," she said. "I think about them every time. But today, I told myself, 'It's just another race. You do this every day.'

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"I was clearheaded in the blocks. It felt good, but that doesn't mean it was that way all season."

Thanks to the week's weather-related cancellations, there was no preliminary race to taunt Rossi.

Again, she was in what amounted to the state finals. Again, she was the top seed, aiming at a state championship.

And, again, she actually didn't get it.

She was second, finishing in 16.17 seconds, behind Crowley County's Rylee Haynes, the state champ, in 15.98.

But Rossi did finish, did get that state medal and did vanquish some demons.

"That felt amazing," she said afterward. "Last year, it broke my heart. This year, second place feels great. That was the best race of my life."

Soroco boys place fifth

Rossi's second-place finish and Ben Kelley's two state championships highlighted another strong day for the Soroco team, and those points helped lift the squad into the overall team state championship races.

On the strength of the boys team's four state titles — three from Kelley in distance events and one from Grant Redmond in high jump — the Rams finished fifth on the boys side. Third was within reach, too. Cedaredge won the meet with 97 points. Wiggins was second at 63, and Resurrection Christian took third at 45. Soroco had 41.

The girls finished with 31 points, good for 11th place, and that was after the squad competed Sunday without one of its top runners, Chloe Veilleux, who scratched from two events after the meet was rescheduled to Sunday.

Paonia won on the girls side with 110, securing the Eagles' fifth consecutive Class 2A team state championship. Telluride was second at 74 and Meeker third at 65.

Soroco wrapped up its competition at state with the girls 400-meter relay, which proved more torturous for the Rams than anything else. After just missing a medal at state the previous two years with that same relay, placing 10th, they just missed yet again, finishing 10th, with a season-best time of 52.43 seconds.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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