Back to the future

Girls team plans to get back on track with what the team did two years ago


What's been the biggest transition for Vicki Haddan from jumps coach to head coach of the Moffat County High School girls track team?

"Now I have to take roll at the beginning of practice," Haddan said. "Really there isn't that much of a difference except I do have to pay more attention to the whole team instead of just my jumpers."

The switch to head coach for Haddan may be made easier by the fact that the Bulldogs have a team with seven returning state qualifiers and top athletes in each event offered at a track meet.

"We are a well rounded team," Haddan said. "This is no question that there are a lot of good kids in a lot of areas."

The girls team has been the top of the Western Slope for the last four years, winning four consecutive regionals. Yet the Bulldogs went from a third place finish at state in '01 to a 12th place finish in '02.

"Last year we had a lot of injuries at the end of the year," said Jeni Jones. "If we stay healthy this could be another good year."

Jones leads the Bulldogs in the triple, long and high jump, all three she hopes to qualify for state in. Furthermore, the senior wants to break the school record in the long and triple.

"My aunt holds both of those records," she said. "So I want to make it a family affair and get my name on the record board too."

Sprinter Brandi Babin joined Jones on the injured list last year at the end of the season with a hip problem. She still went to state in the 4X100 relay but it was a down year considering she was a member of the state champion 4X200 relay team the year before and went to state in two other relays.

"Last year I only went to state in one event," she said. "It was kind of a let down since I went in three my freshman year. So I want to go in at least three again this year."

Babin also believes she's capable of going in an individual event after a fourth place finish at the regional in the 100.

"My confidence level is higher this year," she said. "I know the two or three girls that I have to beat and I have my goals set at that."

Other sprinters who have state experience for the Bulldogs are Ashley Bishop and Ashlee Hafey, with the addition of Kate Schafer, who didn't go out last year, the relay teams hope to be stacked.

"I think we can take at least four of our relay teams to state," Haddan said. "Our depth is strong in those areas."

To compliment the sprint and jumps is the distance team, which finished second this year in cross country.

Seniors Danielle Brown and Sheila McNicol lead the Bulldogs in the long distance events. Brown qualified in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 last year with her best finish in the 3,200 in sixth place. McNicol is coming off a breakthrough cross country season where she finished 10th.

Laurel Mortensen returns to the team this year after taking last year off. Even with the year off, the senior is the most decorated track athlete at MCHS with two first-place state medals, both came in her sophomore year as she helped earn gold in the 3,200 and 800 relays.

"Laurel adds a lot to the team since she is so versatile," Haddan said. "Just with her out it makes it possible for us to take all five relay teams to state."

In addition to the three seniors, Camilia Bird, Angela Nelson and Courtney Grandbouche are the up-and-coming distance and middle distance runners for the Bulldogs.

The final aspect for the girls is the throws and Brittani Weber leads the team in both thte discuss and shot put.

"We haven't really talked about team goals but I think a reasonable goal would be win to regionals again," Haddan said. "It's a good, talented team and we'll see what can happen."

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or

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