Maggi Congdon represents Steamboat at Stanford Invite, Steamboat track continues to expand its strengths
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One second makes all the difference in track and field.
Last week, that one second was all the difference for Steamboat Springs High School junior Maggi Congdon, when she broke five minutes in the 1,600 meters at the Stanford Invitational.
“I knew if I ran five flat, I wouldn’t have been happy,” Congdon said. “It’s such a mental thing, too. I know it’s just one second, knowing the four something is a lot different than having a five something.”
Congdon’s previous personal best in the 1,600 meters was 5 minutes, 6 seconds, which earned her the state title in Class 3A last year. She knew being at sea level running against the best in the country would give her the edge, and she clocked in at 4:59.62 for a fifth place showing. She also added a season-best time in the 800 meters at 2:16.02 to take ninth overall.
That season’s best came less than two hours after her personal best 1,600. She called the 800 her, ‘why not’ race, but Congdon is also currently the reigning state champion in that, too.
Nothing has been different about her training regime this year, but she thinks the experience has heightened her mental game. She’s getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, pushing herself more than ever.
She also feels a certain edge after her disappointing state cross country meet this year in Class 4A. Congdon finished 26th with a time of 19:50.1 in the 5-kilometer cross country race. It wasn’t her fastest showing. She had taken fourth overall the year before in Class 3A with an 18:54.1.
“I just realized that I don’t like being unhappy with my races,” Congdon said. “I realized what I need to do to be happy with my races, and if I’m in the race and not pushing as hard as I can, I know I’m not going to be happy with it.”
Strategically, she thinks running the 400 meters has helped her in the mile.
“By running the 400 more, I gage what speed I can run for one lap,” Congdon said. “So, in the last lap, I know what kind of speed I can pick it up to and maintain that.”
Congdon is also a member of the girls 4×800-meter relay team that broke the school record last year to take third overall at state.
The team of Congdon, seniors Winter Boese and Isabelle Boniface and sophomore Marcada Baker broke the school record last year by 17 seconds, clocking in at 9:30.99, and they hope to return and break it — again.
“We’re running it for the first time this season with all of us tomorrow to give us a baseline of where we’re at,” Boniface said at practice on Friday, April 5. “We’ve only run with that team once. We qualified with a different team last year and broke school record.”
The 4×800 team finished second at the Eagle Valley Invitational on Saturday, April 6.
The distance team has an established prestige and versatility on the Steamboat track team. Congdon finished first in the 400 meters at Saturday’s meet, with Baker following behind in third. Boese finished seventh in the 800 meters in a large field. Boniface finished fourth in the 1,600 meters.
But Steamboat is finding strengths in other disciplines, like sprints and relays.
Senior Nicole Mueller established herself as a strong individual sprinter, taking 12th place in the 100 meters out of 86 competitors at Eagle Valley. Freshman Elise Colby was the top finisher in the open 200 meters, taking fifth. Sophomore Aliyah Reimer followed in seventh, and Hamilton finished ninth. That gave Steamboat three top-10 finishers in a 200-meter race that included a field of 78 runners.
Mueller, Colby and Reimer joined together on girls 4×100-meter relay team with senior Kari Saunders to take fourth place.
The girls sprint medley relay team of Mueller, Saunders, Reimer and junior Siera Harrison also placed fourth. The sprint medley has risen as one of the top three relays for the girls behind the 4×800 and 4×400, winning two weeks ago in Grand Junction and placing eighth in last week’s Mickey Dunn Invitational. The 4×400 has high hopes of also making a state appearance, but did not compete this weekend.
The girls 4×200-meter relay claimed sixth with all freshmen, including, Colby, Sophie Diehl, Mackenzie Cuevas and Kelsey Hamilton. Combined with the 4×100, that’s the second time both have placed in the top five this season.
Junior Ingrid Wedel represented the girls field events with a ninth place finish in the high jump.
Senior Eric Casey, reigning state champion in pole vault, has placed in no less than the top three in every meet. He placed third in pole vault at Eagle Valley, but took first last week at the Mickey Dunn invitational in Grand Junction. He added a seventh-place showing in the long jump. Two weeks ago in Grand Junction, he placed second in the 110 high hurdles. He hopes to gain the versatility necessary to make a collegiate roster this fall at Colorado School of Mines or California Polytechnic State University as a decathlete.
Sophomore Chris Morris also placed 12th in a field of over 100 competitors on the boys side of the 100 meter dash. He was a member of the boys 4×200-meter relay team with sophomore Josh Hamilton, freshman Chance Kibler-Fulk and senior Aubrey Morrison that took ninth.
Freshman Connor Prost showed promise, finishing seventh in the 400 meters. Junior Thomas Lewer also took seventh in the 800 meters. Lewer and Prost have also competed on both the 4×400 and 4×800-meter relays so far this season.
The throwers have been practicing indoors since water has flooded the throwing pits at the high school. They try to make the most of being in the ring at meets. Junior Caleb Cuevas took fourth in the shot put to make a statement for the boys field events. Junior Shilo Lottes followed in sixth.
The Steamboat track team travels to Glenwood Springs next week on Saturday, April 13, then will host a home track meet on Wednesday, April 17.
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