Track teams earn first- and fourth-place finishes


On a blustery Saturday, in the hills south of Craig, Meeker held its annual invitational track meet.

The 4x800-meter relay team, which had qualified earlier this year, was able to re-qualify for the state meet with a time of 4 minutes and 14.21 seconds. The relay team is comprised of seniors Stephanie Hurd and Emily Mortensen, junior Charlotte Steele, and sophomore Laurel Mortensen.

"With the conditions as poor as they were, I was glad to see the runners do as well as they did," girls track coach Mike Gleason said. "It was really windy out there, and wind isn't very conducive to running fast times."

Emily Mortensen put her coach's wind theory to the test, disproving it with three individual first place finishes in the 100, 400, and 800.

She also anchored two winning relay squads, the 4x800 and 4x400.

Mortensen's five firsts earned her Trackster of the Week, a weekly team award which goes to the athlete with the best performance at a meet.

The week before at Hotchkiss, Jill Adamek won the award with her three first place finishes in the 100, 4x100 and 4x200 relay.

With Mortensen's big performance, the Lady Bulldogs took home first place, handily beating the 16 team field with 180 points.

Fruita came in a distant second with 124 points, the only other team to break the 10 point mark.

"The performance of the girls is still getting better meet to meet, and it's reassuring to see them do well in adverse conditions," Gleason said. "This week it won't be the conditions that will be unfavorable, it will be the teams."

Coach Gleason is referring to the upcoming meets for the Lady Bulldogs the Mullen Invitational and Palisade.

Only the state's fastest girls with this season's best times are invited to the Mullen Invitational, held in Denver. It is showcased as a prelude to the May 18-19 state meet.

Mullen draws the best from every school in Colorado, and is by far the toughest competition before the state meet.

The meet also bring a twist of fate, as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Class 4A, Mullen and Moffat County, convene on the track for the first time this season.

"In my mind, Mullen could end up becoming more heated then state," Gleason said.

Eight girls from Moffat County will make the trip to Mullen. In addition to The 4x800 relay team of Hurd, Steele, and Emily and Laurel Mortensen; Jill Adamek, Heather Urbanoski, Danielle Brown, and Jeni Jones will compete in individual events.

The rest of the team will travel to the Palisade meet, where the competition will be just as stiff, with athletes such as Palisade's Natalie Hughs showing their stuff. Outside of Moffat County, Hughs is the class distance runner of the Western Slope Conference.

The boys track team competed in its first qualifying meet at Meeker on Saturday. No one qualified, but the first, first-place finishes of season were posted.

Senior Jarrod Burns had the best individual showing at the meet, running for two first-place finishes, in both the 3,200 and 1,600.

Two relay teams also ran well, with the 1,600 relay team, composed of Drew Morris, Tim Bailey, and Colton and Delvin Grinolds.

Along with the 1,600 team, the 3,200 relay of Morris, Burns, Colton Grinolds, and Anthony Loghran pulled in at second place.

"It's still early in the season for us, and we haven't worked all the bugs out of the system yet," said boys track coach, Gary Tague. "The weather didn't help us out any either, the conditions were hard to deal with you just don't run well in wind and cold."

The boys pulled in four place out of a possible 14 teams at Meeker, and will compete in Palisade this weekend.

Palisade will offer the team its second chance to qualify for state this season, but Tague sees the meet as more of a chance to gain the experience the young team needs.

"We've been progressing well this season, and we ran better times in the bad weather of Meeker then we did when it was nice in Hotchkiss, so that tells me we've improved," Tague said. "But we can't stop there, because we're still a ways away from sending boys to state."

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