At last year's regional track meet, Moffat County's Andrew Drake found out his kryptonite: the large yellow-orange sphere in the sky.
"I don't run well when it's hot," the junior said. "I hope that's not the case this weekend."
The boys and girls track teams travel to Grand Junction for the regional track meet Friday and Saturday. Drake is one of the several Bulldogs who hope to finish in the top three and/or reach a state-qualifying mark to extend the season one more week.
"I could qualify for three events," Drake said. "A good regional for me would be to go in an individual meet and the four-by-two relay."
Drake is seeded in the top five in the 200-meter and 100-meter dashes. He will join seniors Derek Duran and Jake Bilodeau, and junior Sam Weeldreyer in the event.
They are favored to win and the boys team has two other top-ranked relay teams going into the weekend. A regional team hasn't defeated the 800-relay and the 3,200-relay (Duran, senior Malcolm Hillewaert, junior Jeremy Bird and sophomore Mike McNicol) teams this season. The 1,600-relay team (Duran, Bird, Hillewaert and Weeldreyer) won the Tiger Invitational with a time of 3, minutes 28.66 seconds.
"All three of those relay teams could be in the mix for a medal at state," coach Gary Tague said. "There are regional teams closing on them, but they're running well."
The regional is deep in the distance events and field events this year.
"Some of our guys are going to have to hope they qualify by getting a provisional time," Tague said. "Some of the distance races, in particular, are full of talent."
The team title isn't in the running for the Bulldogs, but Tague expected to have a good showing going to the state meet.
"I think we'll have at least eight going," he said. "I'd like to see no fewer than 10 go."
Girls going for title
The Moffat County girls team didn't win the Tiger Invitational last week, but the fourth-place finish showed coach Todd Trapp something.
"Our depth will help us in a meet like regionals," he said. "At the Tiger, we had girls not place who will give us points this week."
Teams such as Montezuma Cortez and Glenwood Springs have the chance to bring home more gold medals, but because they are two deep in a majority of events, the Bulldogs could bring home the biggest gold medal -- the team trophy.
"The important thing for us is to have a big Friday," Trapp said. "If we get a good amount of girls in the finals and score points in Friday's events, it could give them the confidence they'll need for Saturday."
The 800-sprint medley is the only girls relay team to go into the meet with the best time. The team of sophomore Angie Charchalis, senior Anna Herring, senior Maggie Blackstun and sophomore Millie Blackstun haven't run together often, but Trapp said they have the ability to win.
Other key athletes for the Bulldogs will be sophomore Markie Workman, who could score points in the long jump, triple jump and high jump; April Sanchez, who could qualify for state with a top-three performance in the discus; and freshman Erin Urbanoski, one of the top sprinters in the region and the best long jumper.
The Bulldogs are coming off a weekend when 90 percent of the team put together a personal best. Trapp's hope is that will continue.
"We have some momentum coming in that I hope we carry over," he said. "The Tiger was a great weekend for us, and we're back at the same place this weekend."
The two-day meet starts at 9 a.m. Friday with the 3,200 relays at Stocker Stadium.