Track teams anxious to move on from weekend

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The coaching staff for the Moffat County High School girls and boys track teams isn't sure which factor affected its team the most at Rifle this weekend, but between prom, injuries, sickness and what one coach called "gale force winds," it wasn't a meet full of personal bests or state qualifying times.

"As far as improvement as a team this was one of the worst meets I've seen," said boys head coach Gary Tague. "There were a lot of factors, but they all seemed to combine for one bad meet."

Between both teams there were four first-place finishes. Cody Palmer earned half of those first places with gold medals in the triple and long jumps.

"Cody's long jump was probably the most impressive performance of the day," Tague said. "From what I could tell, all of the jumpers were going a foot short of their normal and Cody stayed right up near his best."

The other first for the boys team came in the high jump as Brad Hurd battled the wind to jump 6 feet, two inches.

For the girls, the 4X800 relay team was the only first-place finisher. The team of Angela Nelson, MariKatherine Raftopoulos, Kate Schafer and Laurel Mortensen ran its way to 10 points for MCHS.

Girls coach Vicki Haddan was impressed with Raftopoulos' effort in her second 800 ever.

"MariKatherine stepped in to run in the relay for the first time and performed well," she said. "She ran in there well enough to keep the team near the top."

Another notable performance for the girls was Jeni Jones in the 100. According to Haddan, Jones hopped in the event for the first time after several injuries to other runners.

She finished fifth in the event.

Injuries have been a factor for the Bulldogs, particularly in the sprints. The team is so beat up that the sprint crew was sent home early at Monday's practice.

"We just don't have anybody to practice with," coach Tague said. "We need to get healthy for regionals so I sent them home today."

With poor weather last week on Wednesday, a normal day for workouts, the team moved its harder work to Thursday. Tague thought the move may have played a role in the slower times at the meet for the team.

"They had a heavy load two days before the meet," he said. "They may have been feeling it still on Saturday."

For the boys team, the best finish on the track was the 4X800 relay of Anthony Loughran, Drew Lyon, Derek Duran and Kelvin Grinolds, which finished second. Grinolds also finished third in the 400 for the Bulldogs. The 4X100 relay team of Rowan Dubois, Shea Carr, Trey Gorham and Cody Palmer took third. Other top-eight finishers were Justin Ellgen, eighth in the 3,200 and Stetson Otero, sixth in the shot put.

For the girls team, Sheila McNicol and Kallie Murphy earned two top-eighth finishes. Murphy finished eighth in the 100 hurdles and 5th in the 300 hurdles. McNicol took eighth in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200.

Jones took fifth in the long jump and Nelson took seventh in the 800 to round out the individual finishers for the Bulldogs.

Moffat County also earned points in the 4x200 and medley relays. The 4x200 of Ashley Bishop, Ashlee Hafey, Raechellee Noland and Brandi Babin took fourth and the medley with Bishop, Hafey, Babin and Camillia Bird took seventh.

With nice weather and prom out of the way on Monday, Haddan said she sees a difference at practice.

"We've got that weekend out of the way," she said.

"Now the focus is on getting prepped for the big meets at the end of the season and today you can see that everybody is working hard

for that."

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