Been there, done that |

Been there, done that

Returning upperclassmen on girls track team know what it takes

Been there, done that.

That could describe the experience level of most of the upperclassmen on the Moffat County girls track team.

Of the nine juniors and seniors, eight have had state-competition experience in track and/or cross country.

“We have a group that knows what has to be done,” coach Vicky Haddan said. “They gathered their experience last year.”

Seniors Angela Nelson, Emily Sperl and Brittani Weber are part of that group.

Weber finished seventh in the shot put at state last year.

“I want to win this year and break the school record,” she said. “Things have started out a bit slow, but when it warms up I think I’ll be back were I left off.”

Nelson and Sperl ran as individuals at state. Nelson was the regional champion in the 800 and Sperl was regional runner-up in the 1,600 but they didn’t place in the season final. They shared disappointment with their state performances but were upbeat about this year.

“If we would have run the times we did at regionals, we would have been in the top 10,” Sperl said. “Last year we were just naÃive, but this year we’re coming back with goals.”

Both of the girls finished in the top 20 at state cross country in the fall, and ran on the eighth-place 3,200-meter relay team last year.

“I feel stronger this year because I ran cross country,” Sperl said.

“We know what to expect at state, too,” Nelson added.

Junior Mari Katherine Rafto-poulos was also on the medal-winning 3,200-relay team. She passed the baton on the state-qualifying 1,600-relay team, as well.

“We’ll have some freshmen probably fill a couple of the relay spots,” Haddan said.

“The older girls are excited about that and that’s what makes them leaders.”

Nelson and junior Anna Herring were also on the state-qualifying 1,600-relay team.

Senior Amelia Parker and junior April Sanchez didn’t qualify for state last year but are expected to be effective this season.

Parker finished third in Class 4A in cross country this fall.

Sanchez missed qualifying for state in the discus by seven feet last year.

“This group of upperclass-men model what needs to be done,” Haddan said. “They’re good, natural leaders.”

The strengths of the team this year will be in the distance events as well as the throws.

Haddan acknowledged that the jumps and sprints are the question mark for the team. Most of those varsity positions will be filled by underclassmen who still are learning.

Because of Northwest Colorado weather, the jumpers haven’t had much of a chance to practice this early.

“We’ve had the high-jump pit out once,” Haddan said. “We were going to be in the long-jump pits today (Wednesday), but the weather stopped us.”

But the weather problems are something they’re used to dealing with.

Just like the girls team is used to being a front-runner in the region.

“We’ll go out and try to get better every week,” Haddan said.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or

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