Moffat County girls track earns 6th in 4×200 relay as seniors pass baton to future stars

From left, Moffat County's Camila Nunez, Sadie Smilanich, Alexis Jones, and Teya Miller display their sixth-place medals in the 4x200-meter finals Friday at the 3A CHSAA State Championships.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Though the Moffat County girls only made it to the podium in one event at the track and field state championships, the outlook is bright for the younger members on the team.

The MCHS girls had their best finish during the 3A state championships in the 4×200-meter relay with a sixth-place ranking at 1 minute, 48.2 seconds.

The foursome of freshman Camila Nunez, junior Teya Miller and seniors Alexis Jones and Sadie Smilanich entered state seeded ninth and jumped up to seventh after a preliminary round that saw them set a season best time of 1:47.56.

Though it was the lone race that got thd Bulldog girls medals this year, the 4×200 was hardly their only success.

The prelims saw the girls team ranked 10th in both the 800 sprint medley and 4×400 races, just barely out of the finals, with the medley team of Nunez, Smilanich, junior Quincy Lowe and senior Cayden King earning their best time of the spring at 1:54.95.

Additionally, Smilanich placed 10th in the 200 prelims at a personal record of 26.47.

Coach Todd Trapp noted that while the girls team only took a handful of points at state, their performance was right where it needed to be.

“Our girls really had a quality weekend,” Trapp said. “It was just a couple near misses, and that 4×2 being higher than we expected was great.”

He added that this year’s seniors did especially well considering they’ve only had three years of high school track at most, with no freshman season due to COVID canceling all spring sports in 2020.

Some of the seniors experienced their biggest successes early; Smilanich was part of a state champion 4×200 team as a sophomore and also gained the school record in the same event that year.

Alexis Jones placed eighth in the high jump as a sophomore, an event she’s gone to state for each year. This was the first time she competed without her cousin Emma Jones, this year hitting a height of 4 feet, 9 inches to tie for 14th.

Though she had her struggles in the field event, Alexis said she was pleased with placing in at least one relay.

“It wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but we still went out on a good note,” she said.

Senior Lizzy LeWarne had her best placement as a junior with second place in the 4×400, though she served as the anchor in both the 4×400 and 4×800 this season, the latter of which took 14th as she teamed up with Miller and freshmen Danna Montanez and Bella Vanzo.

Despite losing some upperclassmen, MCHS girls track will have some considerable talent for the next few years. Nunez held the best time in the 100 dash this year, with Montanez leading the team in results for the 400 and 800 races, as well as Vanzo holding the best time in the mile.

Montanez said she enjoyed her first year of high school track, though the rigidity of the final event surprised her.

“Everybody told me how strict it was,” Montanez said of the state meet rules. “I’m just looking forward to getting better times next year.”

Nunez was in three state relays and couldn’t help but feel a little awed by some of the older athletes.

“It’s a little intimidating, but once you get into it, it’s fine,” she said. “I always feel kind of nervous, but we really support each other. The teammates I’ve got, I’m pretty happy with all of them.”

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