Moffat County track looks to make big statement at league championships
Though they didn’t get the chance to compete in their own home meet this season, Moffat County High School track and field athletes are moving forward nonetheless.
Moffat County’s Clint Wells Invitational was canceled Friday amid early morning snow activity as MoCo and Hayden coaches called off the event that was supposed to take place in Hayden as a shared meet.
Bombastic Bulldog boys
The weekend wasn’t lost, however, with an intense practice instead and the option to travel down U.S. Highway 40 to the Steamboat Springs Invite on Saturday. There were few takers.
Junior Evan Atkin won both the long jump and 110-meter hurdles with a season-best leap of 21 feet, 3.5 inches and a time of 16.83, respectively.
Senior Logan Hafey stayed undefeated in the 300 hurdles, clocking in at 41.28 seconds.
“I’m sure Logan wasn’t happy with his time, but it looks like it was pretty windy,” assistant coach David Pressgrove said. “Evan hasn’t hurdled yet this year, and we wanted him to get in a race before league.”
MoCo athletes are seeking a good team result at this weekend’s Multi-League Championships in Rifle. The two-day event will be an opportunity for the boys team to retain the six league titles they won last season, four of which belong to Atkin and Hafey individually. Hafey was the 2021 league champ in both the 110 and 300 hurdles, while Atkin was the top competitor in both the high jump and long jump.
As for this year, Bulldog boys are ranked first in several events among 3A Western Slope teams. Besides Hafey having the best mark in the 300 (39.87), he also leads the league in the 400 dash (51.14).
Atkin’s long jump at Steamboat was on the verge of being wind-legal but still keeps him in the lead in the event.
The two are also part of the 4×200 relay group that’s the fastest in the league. Hafey, Atkin, Andrew Duran and Jimi Jimenez set a season-best in the half-mile relay race during April 22’s Coal Ridge Invitational, which they won in 1:33.51.
With a third-place finish among boys teams at Coal Ridge, the Dogs also took wins in the long jump (Atkin, 20 feet, 0.25 inches), 400 (Hafey, 52.73) and 4×400 (Duran, Jimenez, Boden Reidhead, Hafey, 3:43.7)
MCHS girls also took third overall at Coal Ridge with victories in the high jump — Alexis Jones, 4 feet, 10.5 inches — and in the 4×200, in which Emma Jones, Mikah Vasquez, Caitlyn Adams and Halle Hamilton earned a season-best time at 1:47.43.
Strong efforts by the Lady Bulldogs came in tandem with a dominant performance by the home team, as the Titans’ Peyton Garrison set meet records in all the sprints, as well as anchoring the first-place 4×400 relay.
The MoCo girls certainly didn’t go without noticing, and sophomore Quincy Lowe appreciated that Coal Ridge made it challenging.
“It’s a really big competition,” Lowe said. “That’s been really big for pushing me. They’re always really good competition … They’re all really quick, but they’re good sports, too.”
She added that the Coal Ridge meet also brought in other schools that they hadn’t seen yet after mostly running in meets at Grand Junction.
The Coal Ridge girls not only won the league meet last season but captured a state title as well. They’re shaping up to be the team to beat this weekend with Garrison leading in the sprints and the Titans being the fastest team in the league in every relay event.
MCHS girls currently lead the 3A Western Slope high jump standings with Emma and Alexis Jones at 5 feet, 2 inches.
Though the Clint Wells Invite was not to be this year, the Coal Ridge meet saw MCHS track teams setting new bests in multiple events.
Hamilton brought her time in the 200 dash down to 26.62, while the 4×800 group of Teya Miller, Brook Wheeler, Emma Tucker and Lizzy LeWarne greatly lowered theirs to 11:10.36.
In field events, Miller had the wind at her back for a 15 foot, 2.5 inch mark in the long jump, and discus thrower Taylen Hume shattered her old best by nearly 20 feet to reach 89 feet, 5 inches.
For the boys, personal bests came in several events at Coal Ridge, as Hafey finished in 16.25 in the 110 hurdles, Atkin hit 6 feet, 0.5 inches in the high jump, and Isaac Vallem took advantage of the gusts late in the day to reach 110 feet in the disc.
Fellow thrower Caleb Squires had a rougher go in discus but had the Dogs’ best shot put results for the day.
“It’s not bad but not close to what I wanted,” he said. “Something is going on because I went from throwing consistent 37s to 35s. Still trying to figure out what’s happening there.”
Squires, a junior, took up throwing events this season with a little encouragement from coach Lance Scranton to build his strength for football season.
“It works out your arms for sure, but it also really helps your footwork. It helps keep you in shape pretty well,” he said.
Senior Alex Musgrave also took on multiple sports this year for the first time, finding success in the triple jump, in which he was battling it out with Hudson Jones for the best leap.
And though he’s come to it late, the triple is the event he enjoys the most by far.
“I love it. It’s so much fun, I feel like I can really fly down there. There’s just a little more technique, so once you get that down, someone else might be No. 1 and mess it up, so you could be just as good,” he said. “This is the year where I’m just doing it all. I might as well in my last year; make it fun. I’m glad I tried it.”
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