Moffat County boys track wins 6 titles, both teams runners-up at league championships
For the Craig Press
To say things were heating up during the two-day stretch in Grand Junction would have been an understatement for the Moffat County High School track and field teams.
MCHS runners, jumpers and throwers were bringing their best during the Multi-Leagues Meet Thursday and Friday at Grand Junction’s Stocker Stadium, with both teams finishing as the runners-up among 3A schools and boys earning victory in six events where the competition was as high as the mercury.
Leaping to greatness
Out of the six event wins, more than half involved jumping, whether in the field or on the track, and the athletes who went in ranked as the top contenders landed largely where they thought they would.
MCHS sophomore Evan Atkin won both the 3A boys high jump and long jump, the former on Thursday and the latter Friday.
Though he didn’t quite match the 6-foot, 3-inch best he set in Hayden a week before, Atkin still won the high jump handily at a bar height of 6 feet even.
Oddly enough, that was the mark that got him into the contest midway through the season.
“I was just at practice one day and put it at six feet and decided to go for it and got it,” he said.
Atkin has been a dominant force in the long jump throughout the season, and while he was a foot shorter than his best, achieved last week in Steamboat Springs, the 21-foot 0.5-inch was more than enough to get the gold.
“I’m still undefeated in that,” he said of the long jump. “I’ve been doing it since middle school, and it’s my favorite event.”
Like Atkin, junior Logan Hafey was the one to beat in both boys hurdle races, and he wound up winning the 110-meter and 300-meter events, at respective times of 15.93 and 40.58 seconds, with brother Ian Hafey right behind him in the 110, and Atkin hot on his heels in the 300.
The trio was bundled together in the middle lanes in each race and put one another through their paces.
“It’s great running with them like that, especially my brother,” Logan said. “I really surprised myself in some stuff, there was a lot of improvement.”
He achieved his personal record in each hurdle race, with a 40.34 in Thursday’s 300 preliminaries, despite wind throwing him off during Thursday’s 110 prelim.
Logan was also the last Bulldog of the meet to cross the finish line at te event, serving as the anchor in the 4×400 relay, started off by Ian Hafey, with Cody Boswell next and Ian Trevenen handing the baton to Logan for the final leg.
The finish in the mile relay was one with which Logan was thrilled perhaps more than any other during the league meet.
“Cody and Ian, they really brought it today,” he said. “I was very nervous for this one, but it was a great finish.”
The Bulldog boys also earned a league win in the discus, as Corey Scranton proved why he was the favorite to get the gold. His throw of 128-10 was short of his personal best set a week before, but the toss was well past any other thrower during the day.
“I threw some really good throws that were just out of sector,” Scranton said.
Though he scratched in the shot put, Scranton said he is hoping to reach, if not surpass, a distance of 140 feet in discus as he anticipates state qualification.
“I’m ranked seventh in state right now, so I should be going for that,” he said.
Working their hearts out
MoCo boys came close to overtaking Coal Ridge in the team rankings, though the girls team was a good deal behind a Titan girls roster packed in events across the board.
Even so, the Bulldog girls were gaining plentiful points with silver in eight events.
Coal Ridge’s Peyton Garrison could not be caught in any of the sprints, but Halle Hamilton and Emaleigh Papierski were right behind her in the league finals Friday, with Hamilton second in the 100 and 400 dash and Papierski second in the 200.
The Dogs also gained the silver in four of the five girls relays, including the 4×100, 4×200, 4×400 and 800 sprint medley, all of which took place Friday without any preliminaries.
Alexis Jones, Sadie Smilanich, Quincy Lowe, and Cayden King filled out both the 4×100 and sprint medley, while Emma Jones, Teya Miller, Alexis Jones, and Papierski took on the 4×200.
Handoffs were a little tough for Miller, who has been sporting a cast on her right arm for the several weeks.
“My dog took my feet out right from under me,” Miller said of her injury. “It takes some getting used to doing it with your left hand.”
Finishing up her first year of high school track, Miller, a freshman, said she’s been feeling the push to do well.
“Going from middle school to high school track, it’s a lot better, but it’s harder,” she said.
MCHS girls remain ranked the best in the conference’s 4×2 times — with a 1:44.8 school record time set in Steamboat that Coal Ridge still couldn’t touch at leagues — and are still the Western Slope’s fastest team in the 4×400 with their seed time 4:05.23.
The difference was the configuration, with some relay runners vying for open races, with a lineup of Papierski, Smilanich, Emilie Schnirich, and Hamilton in the 4×4.
As much as the events on the track, cousins Emma and Alexis Jones were focused on the high jump, the two sharing a new best Thursday, reaching a height of 5-1 for second and third respectively.
Though she does well in solo events, Emma noted she prefers the group dynamic.
“We all push each other since we want to get as many points as possible,” she said. “Everyone comes together really well.”
No looking back
Points came from all sources for the league meet, with some events featuring the full allotment of three athletes, such as the Hafeys and Evan Atkin in the boys hurdles, or the grouping of Avery Atkin, Lizzy LeWarne and Emilia Tucker finishing third, fourth and fifth in both girls hurdle events.
In the field, Ian Hafey took bronze in boys discus, as did Hudson Jones in boys triple jump, Cayden King in girls long jump, and Chris Sanderson in boys shot put.
“All my steps and everything were perfect,” Sanderson said. “I took it into the ring and just did my thing. I’m hoping to hit 42 feet by the next meet.”
Other events were more cutthroat but still favorable for the Bulldogs, with fourth in both 4×800 races and in the boys 4×200.
Taran Teeter served as the anchor in the 4×2, joined by Johnny Lopez, Boswell and Evan Beaver.
“The Gunnison guy started to catch me right when I got the baton, and I just had to hold him off. He definitely ran a better leg than me, but I think I got him,” Teeter said. “It was a strong finish for us.”
Though he was running both individual and relay events, Teeter said he certainly prefers one over the other.
“It’s a lot more fun when it’s a team. It keeps you motivated and forces you to run your hardest,” he said.
Late in the day Friday, boys and girls distance runners finally got their final race out of the way with the 1,600 run.
Bree Meats took seventh among the girls, while Boden Reidhead just made the top eight among two waves of harriers in the boys race.
Reidhead had also placed sixth in the 3,200 the day before and had done a leg in the 4×8 Friday morning.
Finally done at the end of the blazing hot day, he poured a complementary cup of water over his head.
“I kicked at the end there and was going for the next jersey up and caught him,” he said, noting he wasn’t focusing on beating any particular runner beyond the ones right in front of him.
MCHS track and field will be right back at Stocker Stadium in the coming week for Grand Junction’s Tiger Invitational, the final meet before the state championships June 24 to 26 in Denver.
And, as positive as some of their results already were, there’s still more to come, Logan Hafey said, as the boys team expects to get senior Caleb Frink back from injury.
Like the girls, boys 4×2 and 4×4 still holds the fastest times in the 3A WSL, even faster than the times they achieved in the league meet.
The league meet was an especially good indicator of what the somewhat more distant future will hold, he added.
“Both our 4×4 teams have no seniors, which makes me excited for next year,” Logan said. “We have some promising runners.”
Moffat County High School track and field results
Athletes(s) — Time/Height/Distance, Place
Logan Hafey — 11.57, 2
Logan Hafey — 15.93, 1
Ian Hafey — 16.57, 2
Evan Atkin — 16.9, 3
Taran Teeter — 24.91, 13
Logan Hafey — 40.5, 1
Evan Atkin — 43.34, 2
Ian Hafey — 42.65, 3
Taran Teeter — 55.13, 5
Cody Boswell — 57.33, 7
Trace Frederickson — 2:18.59, 7
Owen Gifford — 2:20.23, 10
Ian Trevenen — 2:21.97, 14
Boden Reidhead — 5:06:01, 8
Owen Gifford — 5:13.46, 15
Carter Behrman — 5:24.68, 16
Boden Reidhead — 11:39.63, 6
Carter Behrman — 12:43.68, 11
Johnny Lopez/Cody Boswell/Evan Beaver/Taran Teeter — 47.87, 6
Johnny Lopez/Cody Boswell/Evan Beaver/Taran Teeter — 1:38.95, 4
Ian Hafey/Cody Boswell/Ian Trevenen/Logan Hafey — 3:38.63, 1
Trace Frederickson/Boden Reidhead/Carter Behrman/Owen Gifford — 9:05.29, 4
Evan Atkin — 6’, 1
Evan Atkin — 21’ 0.5”, 1
Johnny Lopez — 17’ 8.75”, 11
Hudson Jones — 36’ 10.75”, 3
Johnny Lopez — 35’ 4”, 5
Trace Frederickson — 30’ 6.25”, 8
Corey Scranton — 128’ 10”, 1
Ian Hafey — 111’ 8”, 3
Chris Sanderson — 106’ 9”, 4
Chris Sanderson — 38’, 3
Isaac Vallem — 34’, 10
Halle Hamilton — 12.88, 2
Quincy Lowe — 14.5, 10
Evi Dietrich — 14.71, 12
Avery Atkin — 19.92, 3
Lizzy LeWarne — 20.69, 4
Emilia Tucker — 22.26, 5
Emaleigh Papierski — 26.58, 2
Halle Hamilton — 26.82, 3
Emma Jones — 28.15, 7
Lizzy LeWarne — 56.77, 3
Avery Atkin — 58.88, 4
Emilia Tucker — 59.76, 5
Halle Hamilton — 57.58, 2
Emaleigh Papierski — 59.34, 3
Emma Jones — 1:01.48, 4
Teya Miller — 2:43.18, 9
Bree Meats — 2:48.77, 11
Brook Wheeler — 2:51.17, 14
Bree Meats — 6:17.59, 7
Brook Wheeler — 6:48.06, 12
Alexis Jones/Sadie Smilanich/Quincy Lowe/Cayden King — 53.95, 2
Emma Jones/Teya Miller/Alexis Jones/Emaleigh Papierski — 1:50.94, 2
Emaleigh Papierski/Sadie Smilanich/Emilie Schnirich/Halle Hamilton — 4:15.99, 2
Teya Miller/Bree Meats/Brook Wheeler/Lizzy LeWarne — 11:03.22, 4
800-meter sprint medley relay
Quincy Lowe/Sadie Smilanich/Alexis Jones/Cayden King — 1:59.68, 2
Emma Jones — 5’ 1”, 2
Alexis Jones — 5’ 1”, 3
Avery Atkin — 4’ 7”, 7
Cayden King — 15’ 4”, 3
Evi Dietrich — 13’ 7.5”, 10
Teya Miller — 13’ 3.25”, 11
Cayden King — 30’ 10.75”, 6
Sadie Smilanich — 30’ 9.75”, 7
Evi Dietrich — 27’ 2.75”, 10
Billie Fredrickson — 61’ 3”, 9
Samantha Willems — 41’ 11”, 11
Raine Harrell — 39’ 10”, 12
Raine Harrell — 25’ 5”, 9
Billie Fredrickson — 21’ 10”, 10
Samantha Willems — 18’ 2”, 11
Both boys and girls teams placed second overall among 3A schools.
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