Erik Silva hands off to Alan Flores on Tuesday at the Moffat County High School track. The two seniors will run in the 4x100-meter relay preliminary round Friday at Jeffco Stadium as part of the Colorado state track meet. Silva is the only one of 12 Moffat County athletes going to state who previously has participated in a state meet.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Erik Silva hands off to Alan Flores on Tuesday at the Moffat County High School track. The two seniors will run in the 4x100-meter relay preliminary round Friday at Jeffco Stadium as part of the Colorado state track meet. Silva is the only one of 12 Moffat County athletes going to state who previously has participated in a state meet.

Moffat County track team makes 12 events at state

MCHS track state qualifiers

Girls

100-meter: Kayla Pinnt

200: Kayla Pinnt

1,600: Eryn Leonard

3,200: Leonard

4x100: Ary Shaffer, Selena Hernandez, Cheianne Pinnt and Kayla Pinnt

4x400: Lauren Samuelson, Leonard, Shaffer and Kayla Pinnt

4x800: Shaffer, Samuelson, Aubrey Campbell and Leonard

Sprint medley: Hernandez, Cheianne Pinnt, Shaffer and Samuelson

Boys

100: Kelly Campbell

200: Campbell

4x100: Erik Silva, Alan Flores, Tyler Davis and Campbell

Triple jump: Matt Hamilton

— Moffat County’s track team will send a dozen athletes to the state meet this week.

When the three-day meet begins Thursday at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, all the Bulldogs competing will have the finals on their minds.

With the top 18 times or distances recorded throughout the season qualifying, some strong athletes were left out. Moffat County was on both sides of that equation in 2013.

The boys 4x100-meter relay was Moffat County’s narrowest qualifier, taking the final spot at state by 0.01 second ahead of Grand Valley’s 4x100 team.

On the flip side, freshman Emily White threw the discus a personal-best 100 feet, 6 inches at regionals but ended the year in 19th, 2 inches away from qualifying.

The Bulldogs’ highest qualifier at state is Kayla Pinnt. Her 12.51-second 100-meter dash was the second fastest in 3A this year, four-hundredths of a second behind Lamar’s Ashley Snyder. Pinnt also has the fourth-best time in the 200 this year and hopes to cross the finish line first in both events.

The freshman is feeling the nerves approaching her first high school state meet but is staying in good spirits this week because she feels like she already has met some goals for the season.

“I really don’t know what to expect,” Pinnt said. “Even if I don’t win, I’m pretty happy to be there, but I want to make the finals.”

Pinnt knows a wide variety of things can affect the sprint outcomes, so she said she will focus on her breathing while in the starting blocks.

In sprinting and field events, the top nine competitors advance to the finals from preliminaries, meaning some runners will take it easier in the preliminaries to conserve energy. Head coach Todd Trapp doesn’t like that approach to the events and doesn’t see much opportunity for Moffat County to utilize it.

“If you start thinking that way, I think it’s a weird mindset,” Trapp said. “Every event is different for our kids, and most of them are going to have to go (full speed) to make it to finals. So that’s how we’re practicing.”

Moffat County will have five relay teams compete at state: four on the girls side and one for the boys. Those athletes are spending a great deal of practice time on handoffs, which can make or break a sprint relay.

One Bulldog who could place seemingly anywhere on the board is sophomore Matt Hamilton in the triple jump. Hamilton has the seventh-best jump in the state this year but recorded it early in the season and since has battled injury.

In his return to the pit at the regional meet last weekend, he jumped about 2 feet shorter than his best. He said his hip still isn’t at 100 percent.

“I think it helped to get a few jumps in" at regionals, Hamilton said. “I’ve got nothing to lose, I guess. I’ve just got to go out there and jump the best I can.”

Trapp is trying to keep the atmosphere at practice light to help athletes avoid the stress of competing against the best in Colorado.

“It’s a really exciting time because this is what you aim for all year,” he said. “You’ve got to know it’s just another race. It’s a more competitive race, but you can’t put too much pressure on yourself.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com

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