Steamboat’s 4×800 relay team breaks own school record at state |

Steamboat’s 4×800 relay team breaks own school record at state

Steamboat Springs senior Kathleen O'Connell competes in the girls 4x800-meter relay race Thursday at the state track meet in Lakewood. The Sailors finished 10th, topping the school record in the process.
Austin Colbert

— At one point, not long ago, Steamboat Springs High School senior Alexandra Tumminello didn’t believe the Sailors’ girls 4×800 relay team could qualify for the state track meet. She knew what the qualifying times were, and Steamboat simply wasn’t in that category.

But, the thing about Tumminello is, she is incredibly upbeat and positive. Sometimes, it takes only one moment — one race — to make everything click and a buoyant spirit to make it thrive.

“I knew something incredible was going to happen. But honestly, I couldn’t have dreamed of something like this,” Tumminello said. “It’s kind of a random team of girls we threw together. I guess it just shows what a little bit of faith can do. It’s indescribable, the feeling.”

Not only did the relay team of Tumminello, fellow seniors Kathleen O’Connell and Allison Casey, and freshman Winter Boese, qualify for state, but the team also broke the school record twice in only three races.

The second record-breaking run came Thursday, on the first day of the state meet, held at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. Steamboat’s 4×800 relay team finished 10th among Class 4A schools in a time of nine minutes, 47.79 seconds, surpassing the school record time of 9:52.79 it had set only a week before at the Tiger Invitational in Grand Junction.

“We have to credit a lot to the competition here,” O’Connell said. “We ran as fast as we did today because everyone is so fast. This is nothing compared to any meet we’ve ever been to.”

Air Academy dominated the state finale, winning the girls 4×800 with a time of 9:14.28. Steamboat’s 10th-place finish was one spot outside of making the podium.

It was only the third time this group had raced together.

“It’s been really fun. I wish we had more time to race,” Boese said. “It was really special. I’m really happy, because it’s been a really fun experience, and it’s made me get better.”

Boese was the team’s anchor, taking care of the final leg of the race to close out the new school record time. SSHS coach Lisa Renee Tumminello looks for her to be a guiding light for the Sailors next season, as she will be the only returner.

“Now, she has the vision of what can happen,” Lisa Renee Tumminello said. “Shame on us if we ever limit ourselves or limit the idea of what athletes can do. It’s amazing what they can accomplish if they are dreaming big.”

The graduating three now will find their own path. Alexandra Tumminello is set to take a gap year, during which she will spend time in five countries as part of the World Race program. When she returns, she plans to run cross country and track for Wheaton College in Chicago.

O’Connell is headed to Montana State University next year to ski, and Casey, who spent only one season on the SSHS track team, will go to the University of Colorado to study computer engineering. If all works out, Casey could join the Buffaloes’ track team to continue her young career.

“Now, I have something new I can pursue in college. It’s just a new thing to try. It’s fun,” Casey said. “If I get to run, that’s the cherry on top.”

Soroco High School’s track and field team also had a few athletes in action for the 2A portion on Thursday. Of note was sophomore Mattie Rossi, who qualified first in the preliminary race of the girls 100-meter hurdles. Her time of 16.24 seconds wasn’t a PR, but placed her in position to possibly win a state title during Saturday’s finals.

Soroco’s 800-meter sprint medley girls relay team also qualified for the finals by taking fifth in the prelims with a PR of 1:54.59. The boys and girls 4×200 relay teams each fell short of qualifying for the finals, as did junior Morgan George in the 100-meter dash.

Senior Kali Constine competed in the girls high jump finals Thursday, but did not record a mark.

The Rams have a full day Friday, highlighted by sophomore Ben Kelley running in the finals of the boys’ 800-meter race, where he is seeded fourth.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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