Moffat County relay team races to 3A state title
4x200 group 1st at state, Matt Hamilton wins 3rd in triple jump
One second, Moffat County High School junior Ary Shaffer was standing on the far end of the nine-spot podium for the 3A State Championships for a performance in the long jump she deemed OK at best. Shortly later, she and teammates Emma Samuelson, Lauren Samuelson and Kayla Pinnt took their place in the winners’ position, a head above everyone else.
Who says it’s lonely at the top?
The MCHS foursome claimed a state title in the 4×200-meter relay Friday at Jefferson County Stadium with a time of one minute, 45.03 seconds.
The group had already posted the best qualifying time and was ready to make the last 800 relay race of the year their own. As the baton was handed from Emma to Shaffer to Lauren to Pinnt, it looked more and more like the Bulldogs were going to win. As the anchor, Pinnt was ready to turn on the jets after coasting through the preliminaries in the 100 and 200 dash.
“After I hit corner, I knew we had it when I pulled away,” Pinnt said with a smile. “All our girls kept up and gave us a good lead.”
Pinnt’s older sister, Cheianne, ran with her and the Samuelsons last year in the 4×200, taking third at state.
Lauren, a senior this year, may have been the happiest with the victory, her first state gold medal in four years of track.
“It’s really exciting to get it,” she said.
Her younger sibling, as sophomore, was almost as joy-filled.
“It’s awesome, I just wish we had two more years together,” Emma said.
Coach Todd Trapp said this is the first girls relay team to win at the highest level in his 13 years with MCHS.
“They’ve all been doing really well,” he said. “We want to keep this momentum going for Saturday.”
Though the relay was the only first place Friday, the Bulldogs visited the winner’s circle several times, with Shaffer ninth in the long jump at 15 feet, 11.25 inches; Mattie Jo Duzik eighth in the 800 run at a personal best of 2:22.53; and Matt Hamilton shattering his own record in the triple jump, landing at 43 feet, five inches to finish his high school track career in the third place, an improvement over the fourth he took last year.
“My last three jumps (in the finals) didn’t feel great, but my first three felt pretty good (in the preliminaries),” he said.
Completing his third year in a row at state, Hamilton said he’s glad to see so many of his teammates succeed, the championships continuing Saturday morning at Jeffco Stadium.
“It’s always a great experience, a great state track experience for good ol’ Moffat County,” he said.
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