Sailors off and running at track meet
Denver — Just past the halfway point of Friday’s 400-meter dash, Steamboat Springs middle distance runner Rachel Starr turned on the afterburners.
“That’s my corner,” Starr said after the race. “I didn’t know if I had enough but it was a pretty good race.”
Starr moved from the back of the pack to the front in the final 100-meters of the race and placed second in her heat with a time of 59.62 seconds. Isabel Mendoza won the heat with a time of 59.34 and Laurel Mortensen was third at 59.81.
All three of the runners are qualified for today’s finals along with Conifer’s Meagan Hoffman (59.19), Niwot’s Jenni Rouche (59.28), Fort Morgan’s Lauren Matthews (59.35) and Mullen’s Ashley McCall(59.62).
Summit County runner Shannon Yessak (60.35) and Liberty’s Kristie Wentling also made the finals cut.
The race highlighted Starr’s day and was the top finish for the Sailors on the opening day of the Colorado State High School track and Field Championships. She was also 14th in the 800-meter run which was won by Jenna Bimbi of Pueblo Centennial with a time of 2:11.94.
“Yes and no,” Starr responded when asked if she was happy with the finish.” I have been kind of sick and I just didn’t feel like I had it in this race.”
Starr also wasn’t happy that the field was split into two heats for the finals. Starr raced in the slower half of the group. But Starr has to be happy that her state title hopes are still alive in the 400.
Events will continue today with Starr competing in the 400-meter dash at 2:10 p.m. Kyle Svendsen will also take part in the triple jump which starts at 9:45 a.m. and Brienna Combs will get her shot at a state title in the disc in the afternoon.
The season came to an end for several members of the Steamboat team on Friday, however.
Luke Nykamp wrapped up his high school career with a 17th place finish. His best effort of the day was 121 feet, 5 inches.
“It was a little disappointing,” Nykamp said. “But I was just happy to get here.”
The disc was won by Mike Mehle of Pueblo Central with a throw of 148-05. Bob Harms of Windsor was second with an effort of 148 and Pueblo South’s Jason Fearhiely came in third with a throw of 147-3.
High jumper Jennifer Stanford also finished out her track season with a 15th place finish in the high jump. Stanford cleared 4-10 on the track at Jeffco Stadium.
Amy Bladow of Lewis Palmer won the meet with a jump of 5-8 and Meghan Collins of Cheyenne Mountain was third at 5-6. Steamboat also had three relay teams just miss a shot at the finals on Friday afternoon.
The best shot came when the boy’s 400-meter relay team placed 11th just two spots and less than a second off the qualifying pace.
The team of Patrick McMahon, Svendsen, Derek Haverley and Ryan Wattles finished with a time of 44.89, despite being misled by meet officials just before the start of the race.
“They told us we were disqualified, McMahon said. “It just killed us.”
But as the team started to walk off the track they were told that officials had made an error and the Sailors were not supposed to be disqualified.
“It really threw off our concentration,” Wattles said. “It took a lot out of our legs.”
The team had finished 12th in the 800-meter relay earlier in the day and was excited to make a run at qualifying for the finals in the 400 that afternoon. The news they were disqualified just before the race was very distracting and they didn’t have a lot of time to recover between starts.
Steamboat’s Jessica Flores, MacKenzie Little, Lennae Jenkins and Starr also came up just short in their run at qualifying for the finals of the 1,600-meter relay in the final event of the day.
The state championships will continue today staring at 9:45 a.m. with the field events and running events at 10:45 a.m.
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