Hayden track opens Day 1 of state with podium finishes
LAKEWOOD — Hayden High School head coach Mike Crum isn’t going to say he didn’t expect the boys 4×800-meter relay team to finish third in the state.
“We certainly expect tight finishes, especially now. This is the big stage,” Crum said. “I expect everybody pushing (and) everybody running hard. It’s going to be tight all the way through the weekend.”
The fact is, Hayden track didn’t even have a boys 4×800 team at state a year ago. The exact same group of seniors, Chris Carrouth and Theo Corrello and sophomores Keaton Knez and Wyatt Morteson, didn’t make the cut. Taking third was unimaginable.
They returned this year with a vengeance, breaking the school record in the relay four times this year. Their third-place time of 8 minutes, 30.48 seconds shattered their latest record of 8:47.79 from a few weeks ago.
“It was like a birthday,” Knez said. “You walk into a surprise birthday party and you’re like, ‘No way!’ That’s what it felt like.”
Knez kicked off the relay, holding steady in the middle of the pack. Corrello, thrown off by the mass of runners on the first exchange, ran into another competitor before regaining his stride to start his laps.
Still in the middle of the pack, Corrello struggled with the crowded handoff to Knez, who passed the runners in front of him out of the gate.
“My first thought was, ‘Holy crap that lap was fast,'” Knez said. “And then, ‘Oh crap, I went too fast.'”
1. Lyons, 8:20.83
2. Paonia, 8:22.33
3. Hayden, 8:30.48
Knez handed off to Carrouth, who passed four runners on his lap, moving Hayden from ninth to third.
“First lap, I was just holding position with the guy in front of me,” Carrouth said. “I came around the last 400 meters and said, ‘It’s time to go,’ so I made my move.”
Carrouth and Mortenson both qualified for state in multiple events. Mortenson had a two-hour break between the 4×800 relay and the 3,200-meter run. He finished the 3,200 in 16th place.
Mortenson will run the 1,600-meter on Saturday. Carrouth has the 800-meter run and the 4×400-meter relay left. He opted out of competing in the 1,600 meters and failed to qualify for finals in the 400-meter dash, where he finished 11th.
The Hayden girls 4×800-meter relay team of sophomores Leah Carrouth and Rosalie Mortenson, freshman Jillian Bennett and junior Rae Scott reached the podium with a ninth-place finish, running a time of 10:38.32. It was also their first trip to state as a 4×800 team.
“We’ve got a legacy,” Bennett said. “We know we’ve got to keep this up.”
Bennett qualified for the finals of the girls 400-meter dash with a time of 1:00.77. She will compete in Saturday’s final.
Senior Faith Day also reached the podium leaping 4 feet, 11 inches for an eighth-place finish in the high jump. Day cleared the 5-foot-1 mark at regionals, but as a member of the sprint medley relay, she went straight from the relay to the high jump.
“My legs were shot,” Day said. “I wasn’t disappointed. Once I got off the mat, I just started crying. I did PR this season.”
The sprint medley relay with Day, Bennett, freshman Alison Rajzer and sophomore Gracie Day qualified for finals earlier that day after taking third in the second heat. The girls are seeded sixth going into their first-ever state final.
Senior Hunter Hatcher was the only one to compete in field events on Thursday. He finished 16th in the discus.
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