Track team runners show potential for state

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Running like the wind often is a good thing for track athletes.

But if you're a sprinter, running with the wind can be a problem.

At least that was the case for Moffat County High School senior Brandi Babin on Friday at the Fruita-Monument Invitational.

Babin ran state-qualifying times in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, but the wind gauge registered higher than 2.0 during the races, so the times didn't count for state qualifications.

"Who knows, maybe I wouldn't have qualified if the wind didn't help me," an upbeat Babin said. "I'm racing with girls who have been faster than me in the past so that is what I'm happy about."

Babin won the 100 and finished second in the 200 in her individual events. She helped the 400 and 1,600 relay team finish second and third respectively.

Other victors for the girls team were Angela Nelson, who nearly led the entire 800, and the 3,200 relay of Nelson, Mari Katherine Raftopoulos, Ashlee Hafey and Emily Sperl.

Brittani Webber finished up the best week of her track career with a second-place finish in the shot put. Thursday she threw a state-qualifying distance in the same event at the North Park meet in Craig.

Cortney Grandbouche kicked in the last 400 of her 3,200 to get under the qualifying standard for state. She finished in second and three seconds under the necessary time for a trip to Denver.

"I think for today's meet Cortney's qualification was a big highlight," coach Vicki Haddan said. "We had a good week, and performances are starting to come around."

The other top-three finish for the Bulldogs came from Sperl in the mile. The junior finished third.

The girls finished third out of seven teams with 92 points. Only Rifle's 107 and Fruita's 142 were better.

On the guys' side, Cody Palmer is starting to get his characteristic confidence back as he won both the long jump and triple jump. He qualified for state in the long jump, with the wind in his face.

He also anchored the 400 relay and the team's performance -- a third-place finish --was one of the races for coach Gary Tague.

"Both the boys and girls dropped some significant time in the four-by-ones," he said. "Both teams are going to be fast soon."

The 400 relay wasn't the only team to drop some time, the 3,200 relay finished second in a state qualifying time of 8:15.3. Drew Lyon, Anthony Loughran, Kelvin Grinolds and Derek Duran combined to beat Montrose in the race for the first time in two years when the teams were at full strength (the Bulldogs beat the Indians last weekend, but Montrose didn't have their top runners there). Lyon also led the way as the top distance finisher with a second-place run in the 800.

Aaron Sanchez was the other top-three finisher for the boys with a third-place finish in the 300 hurdles.

The boys ended up fifth in the team competition with 70 points. Rifle (75), Fruita (82), Montrose (93) and Grand Junction finished in front of Moffat County.

Next week the varsity track teams will compete in Rifle.

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