Routt County relay teams earn 6 podium finishes on Friday
LAKEWOOD — On day two of the Colorado High School Activities Association Track and Field State Championships, Routt County relay teams combined to win six medals. The Hayden, Soroco and Steamboat Springs high school girls each took two trips to the podium at JeffCo Stadium in Lakewood on Friday. Two more relay teams are guaranteed to stand atop the podium Saturday as well.
The 4×200 was Soroco’s race to lose. After earning a season-best time of 1:50.16 in the prelims, the Rams team of Larhae Whaley, Marissa Martindale, Lexi Vandenburg and Kayedence Bruner put themselves in first place going into the finals.
“Let’s win it all,” said freshman Whaley. “We came here for a reason.”
They were at the top of the pack through the entire race. Freshman Vandenburg put her team in second before handing off to Bruner, the anchor.
Bruner kept it close, but Cedaredge and Hoehne edged Soroco out, giving the Rams third.
The only thing that fell short of expectations was their placement. Their handoffs were fluid
“Cedaredge and Hoehne pulled through and ran really fast times,” said Vandenburg. “(One minute, fourty-nine seconds) is really fast. Staying in the 1:50’s …”
“It’s good for us,” said Bruner.
The Soroco sprint relayers were busy on Friday. They started the day at 9 a.m. with the 4×100 prelims, in which they took fifth. Just before noon, they were back on the track for the 800 sprint medley final, where they were ranked eighth. The Rams moved up to sixth with a time of 1:56.27.
With the entire foursome returning next year, Soroco could make another run at a title.
The Steamboat Springs girls relay team was in the same position. Juniors Elise Colby and Kelsey Hamilton paired with seniors Marcada Baker and Aliyah Reimer to run in the 4×100 prelims, the 800 medley and 4×200. Their powers strongest align in the 4×200, but that was their last event of the day. With little fuel in the tank, the Sailors still managed to break their own school record, with a time of 1:45.17. They’ve been improving upon the time almost every race for the last few weeks.
The girls have been running together for years and consider themselves sisters and family. They huddle together before and after each race, feeding off each other’s energy, as Colby said.
“We pray before every single event,” said Baker. “With our own team, with our coaches. It’s not just us. It’s God working with us.”
Early in the day, the Sailors eked into the 4×100 finals, taking ninth in the prelims, ensuring a podium finish in all three of the sprint relays they competed in. In the 800 medley relay, the Sailors finished fourth.
“We ran at state freshman year, and we didn’t make finals,” said Hamilton. “Here we are getting all three down.”
Tigers in second
Hayden finished second in the 2A 800 sprint medley with huge thanks to junior 400-meter runner Jillian Bennett. Bennett got the baton in the very back of the pack, which was mostly tight except for the top runner who had a solid lead. Bennett picked off her opponents one by one. In the final 100 meters she passed two more runners, earning the Tigers a second place finish.
After two days of competition, the Hayden girls sit in second with 23 team points.
Hayden’s Sadie Dunckley finished 18th in the 300-meter hurdles and Hayden’s Keaton Knez took 13th in the 800-meter race.
With Bennett running in the 200 and 400 finals tomorrow, the Tiger girls have a fair shot at a top-three finish. Cedaredge has a decent advantage going into the final day with 34 points.
“We should still be proud”
Two lightning delays pushed the 4×400 more than an hour behind schedule. With cooler temperatures and a moody sky above them, the Steamboat Springs boys relay team looked to continue their hot season.
The Sailors have had a near perfect season, dominating the mid-distance relay on the Western Slope. They would have to finish as seeded or better to make the finals, but the team of Thomas Lewer, Bowden Tumminello, Connor Prost and James Lahrman were pumped up and confident.
On the biggest stage of the year, the Sailors took ninth in their heat and 15th overall with a time of 3:31.03. Lewer said the loss was shocking. Tumminello said it was humbling.
“There were teams better than us here, we knew that,” said Prost. “We should have pushed it harder. We could have pushed it harder.”
Steamboat knew they would be challenged at state, but they still expected to earn a personal-best and make the finals. Prost felt like they could have left more out on the track.
“Sure, we didn’t (earn a) PR, sure we didn’t make the finals, but I think we should still be proud of ourselves,” said Lahrman. “Getting here is the first step and placing here is another step. We’ll hold our heads high, but it’s not the easiest way to finish off track in high school.”
4×100 prelims: 1. Yuma 52.06. 2. Limon 52.10. 3. Cedaredge 52.19. 4. Meeker 52.24. 5. Soroco (Larhae Whaley, Kayedence Bruner, Lexi Vandenburg, Marissa Martindale) 52.38. 6. Platte Canyon 52.63. 7. Sedgwick County 53.01. 8. Buena Vista 53.06. 9. Peyton 53.09.
4×200: 1. Cedaredge 1:49.62. 2. Hoehne 1:49.87. 3. Soroco (Whaley, Martindale, Vandenburg, Bruner) 1:50.38. 4. Highland 1:50.76. 5. Sedgwick County 1:51.11. 7. Golden View Classical 1:51.31. 8. Hotchkiss 1:51.41. 9. Hayden (Mia Mikos, Isabella Simones, Jenna Kleckler, Jillian Bennett)1:54.54.
4×400: 1. Hoehne 4:18.35. 18. Soroco (Isabel Medina, Sophia Benjamin, Rose Karrow, Eden Mayer) 4:47.04.
800 sprint medley: 1. Cedaredge 1:52.55. 2. Hayden (Alison Rajzer, Mia Mikos, Isabella Simones, Jillian Bennett) 1:54.87. 3. Hotchkiss 1:55.12. 4. Limon 1:55.75. 5. Yuma 1:55.79. 6. Soroco (Whaley, Bruner, Vandenburg, Martindale) 1:56.27. 7. Dayspring Christian 1:56.44. 8. Paonia 1:56.53.9. Rangely 1:56.56.
300 hurdles prelims: 1. Megan Jenkins, Cedaredge 47.02. 18. Sadie Dunckley, Hayden, 52.95.
800 final: 1. Connor Williams 1:54.21. 13. Keaton Knez 2:07.58.
4×100 prelims: 1. Niwot 49.06. 2. Erie 49.1 3. Mesa Ridge 49.81. 4. Windsor 49.96. 5. Palmer ridge 50.28. 6. Denver South 50.28. 7. Vista Peak 50.66. 8. Mullen 50.76. 9. Steamboat Springs (Elise Colby, Kelsey Hamilton, Marcada Baker, Aliyah Reimer) 50.8.
4×200: 1. Niwot 1:39.49. 2. Mullen 1:44.21. 3. Mesa Ridge 1:44.52. 4. Steamboat Springs (Colby, Hamilton, Baker, Reimer) 1:45.17. 5. Golden 1:47.73. 6. Denver South 1:48.08. 7. Mountain View 1:49.64. 8. Longmont 1:49.72. 9. Roosevelt 1:50.76.
800 sprint medley: 1. Niwot 1:46.46. 2. Longmont 1:49.31. 3. Palmer Ridge 1:49.82. 4. Steamboat Springs (Colby, Hamilton, Reimer, Baker) 1:51.04. 5. Battle Mountain 1:51.95. 6. Widefield 1:52.07. 7. Erie 1:53.05. 8. Windsor 1:54.28. 9. Mountain View 1:57.26.
4×100 prelims: 1. Air Academy 42.94. 15. Steamboat Springs 44.83.
4×400: 1. Niwot 3:24.99. 15. Steamboat Springs 3:31.03.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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