Moffat County track claims medals in 7 events at state
Moffat County High School pushed through a stop-and-go weekend during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships and still returned with plenty of proof of their hard work this season.
The state event started in Lakewood on Thursday with a day-and-a-half delay caused by snow midway through, extending the action into Sunday evening.
The MCHS girls placed 12th among Class 3A teams and the boys were 23rd. Altogether, the Bulldogs made it to the podium in seven events — the boys in the 300-meter hurdles and 4×400 relay and the girls in the 200, 400, high jump and the 4×200 and 4×400 relays.
Boys bounce back
Senior Logan Hafey took second in the 300 hurdles, an event he won last season. After breaking his own school record in the Saturday preliminaries at 39.19 seconds, he was ready to go for the gold again.
After a solid start, the final stretch saw an unusual sequence of events as the competitor in the next lane lost one of his spikes, which Hafey barely noticed coming up to the last hurdle.
“I pulled through too quick, and my toe caught (the hurdle),” he said.
Hafey hit the ground hard but instinctively threw himself toward the finish line. He couldn’t beat the Lutheran hurdler, though he still retained the silver medal.
“It’s funny that I just asked (Coach Todd Trapp) the other day, ‘What counts as crossing the finish line?’ and he said it has to be your shoulders and chest,” Hafey said. “I reached, but I had to nudge myself forward to get across.”
With two relays at state, the 4×200 prelims went well enough for the boys with their best time yet this season at 1:31.19, only for a false start in the finals to disqualify them.
After Saturday night’s mishap, junior Evan Atkin had a rough final day in his individual events, unable to record a height in the high jump and missing the finals for long jump.
However, as the starter for the 4×400 relay — the last race of the state meet — he was determined to make it count.
“It was awesome to be able to start them off good,” he said. “In that other one, I think I was just too antsy.”
Not only did Atkin give the group a great start, freshman Andrew Duran and junior Jimi Jimenez kept that energy going, while Hafey brought it home to win the heat at a season-best 3:28.07 and leap from a 15 seed to sixth place.
“All four guys on both relays really ran for each other,” Hafey said. “Regardless of the mistakes, those will happen, we’ve just got to pick it up and come out like we did today and show we’re here to compete.”
For the girls, defending their 4×200 state title from 2019 and 2021 was on their minds, yet a highly competitive field was tougher than they’d hoped.
Despite bringing their season low down to a 1:46.05, the group of Emma Jones, Mikah Vasquez, Antonia Vasquez and Halle Hamilton finished third.
Even so, there was no sense of disappointment with how they ran, particularly with their youngest member.
“I’m very proud of myself,” freshman Mikah Vasquez said. “It’s a lot harder than middle school track, but it’s made my mindset a lot better.”
The Vasquez sisters both ran the 4×100 and 800 sprint medley as well, finishing 11th, just outside of the bubble for the finals in the 800 sprint medley.
Mikah also joined Emma Jones, Lizzy LeWarne and Hamilton in the 4×400, cutting 2 seconds off their previous best to clock in at 4:03.73 and place second behind Western Slope rival Coal Ridge.
Seniors Jones and Hamilton cleaned up more than any other MoCo athletes, with Jones tying for seventh in the high jump at a height of 5 feet, 1 inch and Hamilton earning fourth in the 200 dash and third in the 400, reaching her fastest times of the year in each event at 26.42 and 58.46, respectively.
With Coal Ridge’s Peyton Garrison sweeping the sprints — and breaking MCHS legend Kayla Pinnt’s state record in the 400 to boot — Hamilton said she was less focused on winning and happy to just be able to perform to her best as well as compete alongside her best friend.
“This definitely has been our best season, and I don’t think I have any regrets leaving the stadium,” she said.
Despite bringing their season low down to a 1:46.05, the group of Emma Jones, Mikah Vasquez, Antonia Vasquez and Halle Hamilton finished fourth.
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