Relay teams lead way at Clint Wells Invitational

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Vicki Haddan knew all along that the Moffat County High School girls track team had enough depth to put together five competitive relay teams; it was just a matter of getting everybody healthy.

This weekend things came together and the Bulldogs won the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 and finished second in the medley relay at the Clint Wells Invitational in Craig.

"Putting the relay teams together had been a focus for us all week," she said. "Our handoffs went well and four wins and a second was a great showing for us."

In a strong wind, there were no record-setting performances for the Bulldogs but both coaches did recognize several personal bests.

The boys 4x100-meter relay of Daniel Tague, Cody Palmer, Shea Carr and Trey Gorham ran a season best on the way to winning the event.

"That was the first time in several meets we've had the original team back," coach Gary Tague said. "In a pretty tough wind, those guys toughed it out for a seasonal best."

On the girls side, April Sanchez launched the discus more than 100 feet, a feat no MCHS thrower had reached this season. Her sixth-place finish was something that Haddan liked to see.

"We haven't had too many throwers score for us," she said. "For April to break 100 as a freshman, it is a good sign."

Additionally for the girls, sprinter Brandi Babin had a third-place finish in the 100 and 200. In the prelims of the 200, Babin broke 27 seconds for the first time in her career with an automatic timing system.

"Brandi broke 27 once before but it was hand timed," Haddan said. "To get an automatic time below 27, which is usually slower, is a positive."

Other highlights for coach Tague's boys team came from Kelvin Grinolds in the 400 and Brad Hurd in the long jump.

Grinolds raced to a personal best of 52.42, earning second place and accolades from his coach.

"Kelvin could break into the 51s at regionals and might have a chance to make state," Tague said. "He has really been taking his training seriously this year and it is showing."

Hurd continued his winning ways in the high jump with a first-place clearance of six feet, but his breakthrough was in the long jump. Hurd jumped 20 2 to finish second behind Cody Palmer. Hurd's leap into the 20-foot barrier gives MCHS a strong duo for the regional, as Palmer has yet to be beaten in the event this year.

In the team standings, Rifle won both sides and coach Tague said that on the boys side, they would be tough to beat at regionals. But coach Haddan said she thought the girls could catch the Bears next week.

"There will be more athletes to break apart some of Rifle's points," she said. "I think Palisade will be our toughest challenge."

The Moffat County girls will count on a large number of points from the distance crew. After winning each of the distance events this weekend, the combination of Laurel Mortensen, Danielle Brown, Angela Nelson and Sheila McNicol could bring 1-2 finishes in the 800, 1,600 and a possible 1-2-3 finish in the 3,200 at the regional meet.

"We know that the distance girls are going to place every time out there," Haddan said. "Palisade will get their big points in the throws; we'll get ours from the distance crew."

The boys distance crew had several top-three finishes as well with Anthony Loughran second in the 800 and Justin Ellgen third and fifth in the 1,600 and 3,200 respectively. They boys relay teams earned points for the Bulldogs with first places from the 4x800 and 4x400 and a fourth place in the 4x200.

Other top-eight finishers for MCHS were: Ashley Bishop, 6th, 100; Camillia Bird, 5th, 200; MariKatherine Raftopoulos, 5th, 800; Kallie Murphy, 4th, 100 hurdles; Jeni Jones, 4th, high jump, 4th, long jump, 6th, triple jump; Brittany Weber, 8th, shot put; Trey Gorham, 6th, 100; Ricardo Pinedo, 8th, 800; Kenny Stacey, 6th, 110 hurdles, Daniel Tague, 7th, 110 hurdles; Aaron Sanchez, 3rd, 300 hurdles; Kevin Loughran, 7th, high jump and Stetson Otero, 8th, shot put.

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