Moffat County track pushes forward at Phil Wertman Invite |

Moffat County track pushes forward at Phil Wertman Invite

Moffat County's Zeke Cordero, left, hands off to Hudson Jones in the 4x200-meter relay at the Phil Wertman Invite at Stocker Stadium Friday, April 14, 2023.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Whether by small or huge increments, Moffat County track and field athletes keep proving how far they can go week by week.

The Bulldogs were back in action Friday afternoon at the Phil Wertman Invitational at Grand Junction’s Stocker Stadium with the boys placing fourth and the girls sixth.

It was another big day for group events as the girls 4×800-meter began the day with a win and the boys 4×400 did the same to close it.

The two-mile relay team of senior Lizzy LeWarne, freshman Danna Montanez and juniors Brook Wheeler and Teya Miller cut nearly 40 seconds off the previous best time and took first at 11 minutes, 2.88 seconds.

The boys one-mile relay team of juniors Zeke Cordero, Owen Gifford, Jimi Jimenez and senior Evan Atkin likewise saw improvement from the 4×400 low set two weeks prior, bringing their time down to 3:31.45.

Jimenez and Atkin were part of the 4×4 team that medaled at state last season, and strengthening relays is a consistent goal for them.

“Our handoffs have been really good — all of our guys are doing good,” Jimenez said.

Atkin also won the long jump, reaching a season-best distance of 21 feet, 6 inches and getting closer and closer to his personal best of 22-1.75 last year. He also took third in the high jump, matching the 5 -10 mark from a week before.

The girls also outdid themselves with new best times in the 4×200, 4×400 and 800 sprint medley relays, trimming as much as eight seconds in the 4×400 (4:25.01), in which LeWarne and Miller teamed up with seniors Sadie Smilanich and Alexis Jones to place third.

At an improved time of seven seconds faster, Gifford, freshman Noah Beeson and seniors Ian Trevenen and Boden Reidhead took the bronze in the boys 4×800 at 8:54.5.

In the 800 run, Gifford placed second with a personal record of 2:02.81. Cordero did the same in the 100 dash at fourth in 11.55, as did Hudson Jones, who was sixth in the 300 hurdles at 44.47.

For the girls, freshman Camila Nunez set a new team best in her first go in the 100 dash, placing fifth at 13.89. She placed the same in the 200 at 1:07.96, just behind her teammate’s fourth-place finish, as Montanez set a new mark for the team at 1:07.07.

In field events, sophomore Mena Tucker broke her personal record in the triple jump, placing sixth at 28-9.25.

Friday proved an introductory varsity event for some. After being on the track off and on, freshman Teryn Carter took on the long jump, reaching 13-11.

“I’m still learning. I didn’t do it in middle school, so it’s my first time ever,” Carter said. “I like the challenge it gives us all.”

For the throwers, Stocker Stadium presented some difficulties with water damage limiting their space and some of the boys were unable to throw in the discus event.

On the bright side, both senior Alexis Herndon and sophomore Taylen Hume saw new bests as Herndon added two feet for 32-1 and took seventh place in the shot put. Hume was only two inches away from placement in the disc but increased her personal range a full foot to 91-8.

The throwers have been unable to use the throwing spaces at home so far this season.

“It’s kind of hard not being able to do things in the rings in Craig,” Hume said. “We’ve mostly been doing stuff up on the hill and working on technique. It helps being able to get in the steps, but then you come here and are expected to throw as far as you can.”

Hume added that new coach Diego Quezada has provided great guidance.

“He really stepped up at the last minute to fulfill that, and he’s really good,” she said. “It’s nice having kind of a breath of fresh air.”

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