Today's relays are key for boys track team

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GRAND JUNCTION -- Derek Duran's best wasn't enough.

The Moffat County junior ran a personal-best of 2 minutes, 00.56 seconds in the 800-meters. It was a time that he thought would get him to state, and also, it was a time that would have won last year's Class 4A regional.

At this year's regional, he was fourth.

The top-five times were faster than the first-place finish last year. Three of the times were less than two minutes.

"It's been a long time since an 800 has been that fast here," said coach Gary Tague. "Derek ran an outstanding race, those others just had an even more outstanding race in them today."

Duran was a hopeful for state-qualifying going into the regional.

"I finished with my best time," he said. "I still have next year."

Freshman Mike McNicol has three more years to learn about racing a 3,200. He came across the finish line on the seventh lap thinking he had won the race. When the other leaders went past him, he realized he made a mistake.

"It was a rookie mistake," he said. "I was sure I was done."

Sophomore Jake Miller was 10 meters behind McNicol with one lap to go. He held on to finish third and earn a trip to state.

"I wanted top three," he said. "It was my best time, and I'm going to state, so I'm pretty happy."

Senior Steve Crisp finished fifth in the race.

Miller was the Bulldogs' lone state qualifier after Day 1 of the meet.

Today is their chance for the big points.

The Bulldogs are ranked in the top five in all four relays. On Friday, senior Daniel Tague (110-high hurdles, 200), junior Jake Bilodeau (100), sophomore Andrew Drake (200) and senior Rowan DuBois (400) all qualified for the finals.

"Most of our state chances are on the relay teams," coach Tague said. "Daniel and Drake could sneak in there with good races."

Sophomores Cory Pike and J.T. Haddan will try to keep improving in the shot put, as well.

McNicol, Crisp and Miller will be back at it in the 1,600.

"Our youth is showing this weekend," Tague said. "We have some super sophomores, but it's just not enough to be up there as a team."

The Bulldogs finished the day in sixth place with 15 points.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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