Moffat County High School senior Charlotte Steele dashes through 800 meters but her coach knows she can run faster.
Steele qualified for the 800 Saturday at the Palisade Invitational by running into first place with a time of 2:21.95, which isn't her fastest of the year. Her fastest 800 time came from a 4x800-relay team split time and has her coach, Mike Gleason, looking for more before the regular season is over.
"Right now Charlotte has the fastest 800 time in Class 4A and she hasn't even ran her fastest personal time," Gleason said. "If she keeps running like she is, she has a real chance to be a state champion."
Six Lady 'Dogs earn their trip to state at the Palisade Invitational, the Moffat County track team's first qualification meet of the year.
Steele not only qualified in the 800 but in the 1,600-meter run as well. The senior is a repeat qualifier in the 800, which she turned into a fifth-place finish at state in 2001.
Senior Beth White and junior Danielle Brown joined Steele in qualifying for individual events. White and Brown qualified in the 3,200-meter race. Brown finished second with a time of 12:04.30 and White finished third with a time of 12:07.85.
Seeing his distance runners finish the first qualification meet with their tickets punched to state is no surprise to Gleason.
"The girls are where I expected them to be and I expect more of them to qualify as we get closer to regionals," he said.
Sheila McNicol, a junior, finished sixth Saturday, running a time of 12:49.06.
The Lady 'Dogs qualified the 4x800-meter relay team at Palisade.
The team of sophomore Ashlee Hafey, Brown, White and Steele finished in first place with a time of 9:54.71.
The 4x800-relay team has been a strong facet of the girls track team in years past and the team hasn't lost a step from it's 2001 state championship finish.
"We probably won't break any records like two years ago but we'll be right in the hunt for another state championship," Gleason said.
"Our biggest rivals in the relay, Mullen, ran its fastest time and they don't have a history of finishing the season well."