Hafey leapfrogs field to win 300-meter hurdles state title
For the Craig Press
Not everything was going his way during the State Track and Field Championships this week, but the final day held big things for Moffat County High School’s Logan Hafey.
Hafey took state championship honors Saturday in the 300-meter hurdles, winning the event with not only the fastest time among 3A boys that day but also the quickest in MCHS history.
Actually, it was the second time in as many days that he earned the record, with a result of 39.77 seconds during Friday’s preliminary round.
“I finally broke 40, I’ve been going for that the entire season,” Hafey said after the prelim race.
He added that the Friday race let him work out his technique and figure out the approach that would give him the best result, namely sticking with one leg to launch himself, specifically his left.
“I can’t risk stutter-stepping or trying to switch because it will slow me down,” he said. “Some guys switch between each one, but I told myself whatever one I go off first I’m keeping it.”
It turned out the MoCo junior indeed had plenty left in the tank, and his winning time went down further to 39.26 in a phenomenal final.
“It was my best race of the season, my form was probably the best I’ve been all season,” he said. “I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from keeping that front spot.”
Hafey noted that going up on the record board is humbling, given the previous best had stood for 34 years.
“It was set by a really, really outstanding athlete for Moffat County, Danny Pleasant,” he said. “Nobody’s beat it in a while. That was one of my main goals to beat that, and I’m so glad I finally got it.”
MCHS head coach Todd Trapp noted the event has arguably been Logan’s best, albeit with some stalled progress after a good start earlier in the season.
“He’s been kind of frustrated with those 300 hurdles. He hasn’t dropped time all year,” Trapp said. “He kept working at ‘em, working at ‘em. He was really pumped to make a run at it today.”
Hafey’s younger brother Ian, a freshman, also had a strong prelim round, placing third in his heat Friday, and he wound up fifth overall in the Saturday finale at 41.08, also his personal record.
“It was really cool to have my brother up there. I don’t think I saw any other race where two brothers were up on the podium together for the same race,” Logan said. “I had a lot of family come down to watch, and they were really excited for both of us.”
The two were in separate heats for prelims, though they’ve often been side by side in lanes this season.
“I like being in the same heat because it just pushes us both,” Ian said. “I kind of like being by myself too because then I can just beat other kids and it’s not just me and my brother going at it.”
The outcome for the Hafey brothers was encouraging for multiple reasons.
When Logan was last at the state event his freshman year in 2019, a flubbed handoff by his relay teammate resulted in a disappointing disqualification.
This year’s state meet also had its ups and downs for the young hurdler, as he and Ian both struggled in the 110 hurdle prelims on Thursday, missing out on finals.
“In the 300, there’s a lot more room for error ,and it’s OK to have not as great form. You can get away with a little bit of mess-ups,” Logan said of the difference between the two races.
Part of their performance in the 110 was due to having just run the 4×200 relay prelims.
“Our legs were really tired,” Ian said.
The 4×200 relay finals on Friday went well enough, as the siblings and teammates Evan Atkin and Taran Teeter placed sixth with a season-best 1:32.88 that was overshadowed by the Bulldog girls’ state title in the same event.
Later that afternoon, the same group ran the 4×400 relay as well, but multiple weather delays stymied their readiness, and they were unable to qualify for finals, ranking 13th of 18.
“We really needed to come together as a team because there was a lot of handoffs going the same time we were. 4×4 handoffs are usually pretty messy, especially when everybody’s moving back and forth,” Logan said. “That race just didn’t go how we wanted.”
The preliminary result was exciting enough for Logan and Ian’s father and coach, Kip Hafey, but the state title truly proved a moment of pride.
Even with the two of them still likely to see more track and field glory in the coming years, Kip said he prefers to stay in the moment.
“It’s a lot of fun to sit back and enjoy the experience,” Kip said. “You want to enjoy the big moment.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the accurate placing of one of the athletes mentioned. We regret the error.
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