Moffat County boys track ends season with school record in 4×400, surpasses state standard

From left, Moffat County's Zeke Cordero, Andrew Duran, Evan Atkin, and Owen Gifford display second place medals for the 4x400-meter relay finals Saturday at the 3A CHSAA State Championships.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

The finale of the 3A track and field state championships was a 4×400-meter relay race in which the Moffat County boys not only hit the fastest time ever for the Bulldogs program, but also outdid the previous best mark ever run at the state meet.

The only downside was they weren’t the only team to do so.

MCHS track earned second place in the mile relay Saturday afternoon as the state meet came to a close, just a heartbeat behind Resurrection Christian. Both Resurrection and MoCo edged out the 3:21.46 record for the state meet set in 2016, with the Cougars just a few steps ahead at 3:20.49 to the Bulldogs’ 3:21.07.

Though the Bulldogs didn’t get the gold medal they were hoping for, the time was nonetheless the best ever for MCHS, a full two seconds ahead of the previous school record of 3:23.11 set in 2006 by Sam Weeldreyer, Jeremy Bird, Malcolm Hillewaert and Derek Duran.

Head coach Todd Trapp was impressed.

“Amazing way to finish,” Trapp said. “It was a great day for our boys. I thought 3:23 would be a hard time to beat, but that’s what records are for.”

Zeke Cordero started off the race, handing off to fellow junior Owen Gifford, with the action starting to shift to the innermost lane after the second lap.

“Trapp was telling me with a good start, we could have a good race, so I think it worked out pretty well,” Cordero said.

Sophomore Andrew Duran took the baton for the third lap before giving it to senior Evan Atkin for the final 400.

Atkin held nothing back in his final high school race, bearing down on the leader of the pack from Resurrection Christian, much like Atkin did in Friday’s preliminaries.

“Yesterday, we were tied around the first 100, and after 200 I was a little bit farther,” he said. “Today, I pushed a little harder to get out in front of him and tried to pass him on the back stretch and couldn’t quite cut him off.”

The record in the 4×400 is the fourth school record this season for the Bulldog boys. Cordero, Duran, Atkin and junior Jimi Jimenez also broke the record in the 4×200 just before state.

In the shorter relay, multiple mishaps with the baton led to the group getting disqualified in the state finals, though the four of them took solace in a 4×100 finish that got them eighth after only narrowly qualifying in the first with a 17 seed.

“We beat a bunch of benchmarks,” Jimenez said. “It’s been a great season. Even if we didn’t get first every time, we still kicked butt.”

In addition to sharing the two relay records, Atkin now owns the honors for the 400 dash and 300 hurdles, the latter of which he broke earlier in the day Saturday.

Atkin said his final meet before leaving high school will be a fond memory.

“It’s feeling really emotional, and I’m crazy excited,” he said. “Loved running with these boys the last couple years.”

Other than Atkin, the other seniors for the boys team to go to state were Boden Reidhead and Ian Trevenen, who teamed with Gifford and freshman Haven Carr in Thursday’s 4×800 race, placing 17th.

“It was definitely pretty rough with that weather, but I think we did pretty good,” Trevenen said. “It was pretty windy that day.”

Trevenen has twice competed in the state high jump but didn’t have much of a chance to excel in that event after being limited in practice for most of the early season.

Surpassing expectations at state was junior Hudson Jones in the triple jump. Hovering right on the cusp of placement with a 10th-place seed to enter state, he hit a mark of 43 feet, 3 inches to rank fourth.

“I was ranked 17th last year, and I think this time I put a lot more work into it, all my phases,” Jones said.

Though he’ll also be working on football and basketball in his upcoming senior year, Jones said he plans to make a bigger push in the triple next time.

“My goal is to get 46 (feet) consistently next year and have a really big jump at state,” he said.

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