Seasoned Moffat County tracksters set sights on memorable spring
For the Craig Press
With the weather warming considerably, Moffat County High School track and field is getting the blood pumping as they start to run, jump or throw at their very best.
MCHS athletes recorded their first results of the season in the past week, and the numbers are promising for many of the Bulldogs.
Onward and upward
Senior Logan Hafey was off the starting blocks like a flash Friday during the preliminary 300-meter hurdle race at Grand Junction’s Warrior Wild West Invitational, clocking in at 39.87 seconds.
The time was certainly beneficial for the day — as the only runner to break 40 seconds — and for the weekend as he went on to win the Saturday finals at 40.61. But, in a larger sense, the prelim result already sets him up for a likely state qualification.
What’s more, the 39.87 is only a tenth of a second away from Hafey’s personal best from last season, a school record-setting 39.77 that won him a state championship in the 300 hurdles as a junior.
“I wanted to hit as close as I could to what I finished last year,” he said. “I think I’m seeded second right now in the state. This past weekend there was a couple of really good runners from Denver.”
Hafey was also a league champ in the 110 and 300 hurdles last year. Though he didn’t take on the 110 during the Warrior Wild West, he placed third in the 100 dash (11.46) and led off the boys 4×400 relay — in which Bulldog boys also took league honors last year — with Trace Frederickson, Jimi Jimenez and Ian Trevenen that placed seventh (3:47.3).
Last season also saw junior Evan Atkin win the league’s high jump and long lump titles, though he was not competing this weekend as he recuperates from a football injury in the fall.
The MCHS track roster has several athletes sitting out the spring with off-season wounds, but there is still plenty of talent.
Trevenen and Hudson Jones tied for sixth in this weekend’s high jump, and he joined Boden Reidhead, Owen Gifford and Frderickson for fifth in the 4×800.
Sharing the baton
MoCo girls set a strong tone in the prelims as seniors Emma Jones and Halle Hamilton led the pack with times in the 200 and 400 dash, respectively. Hamilton was unable to compete in the finals, but Jones took second in the 200, her prelim time of 27.05 a personal best.
“It was a good start for everyone, because good times motivate you to get even faster times,” Jones said. “With that start, you feel confident but then you don’t feel content, so there’s always ways to get better.”
During this weekend, Jones also took the silver in the high jump, at five feet, and served as the anchor for the 4×200 relay with Alexis Jones, Mikah Vasquez and Ruby Short, a group which finished as the runner-up at 1:53.92.
In a weekend that included bronze in the 800 sprint medley (2:07.66), MoCo girls made lots of noise by placing in every relay, including second place in the 4×800 (11:22.68) by Lizzy LeWarne, Teya Miller, Brook Wheeler, and Bree Meats; Emma, Alexis, Vasquez, and LeWarne third in the 4×400 (4:28.32); and Quincy Lowe, Sadie Dunckley, Mena Tucker, and Caitlyn Adams sixth in the 4×100 (56.41).
LeWarne also placed fourth in the 300 hurdles, and Dunckley took fifth in the 100 hurdles.
Last season, MCHS girls achieved multiple highlights, including a new school record and later a state title in the 4×200, the second championship in the event for both Hamilton and Emma Jones. The two also achieved a 4×400 school record as freshmen.
As with most years, there will be some shuffling of runners as they seek to find the best combination.
“It’s definitely different this year because we have new relay members, but everyone at practice is really pushing hard and giving it their all,” Emma Jones said. “That’s good to see because that effort will go into the meets and that’s where the good results will come.”
Just getting warmed up
The track program faced some limitations with late winter weather, though nothing coaches Todd Trapp, Lance Scranton, Kip Hafey and David Pressgrove haven’t seen in prior years.
Last year’s schedule was warm from the start, but also went as late as June, and the return to a true spring season isn’t lost on athletes.
The Bulldogs originally planned to take on a Front Range meet just before spring break only to have weather cancel the whole thing, yet the extra practice time leading into and including vacation was beneficial before their opening meet.
Emma said she and Hamilton were finding opportunities on break to run in a warmer climate.
“That kind of helped us prepare for the warmer weather in Junction,” she said.
MoCo athletes will be at Colorado Mesa University’s Stocker Stadium week after week for most of the spring, though the schedule will have some new features. The Bulldog home meet, the Clint Wells Invite, will take place in Hayden, and the league championships will be hosted by Rifle.
Regardless of where they’re competing, MCHS athletes will make the most of their time on the track, particularly the seniors who are focusing on making this their strongest season yet.
Logan Hafey will be moving on to compete in the sport at CMU after graduating, and he sees this a way to set the stage for a good at the college level.
“I want to have a strong finish, but there’s still a lot left to accomplish in high school,” he said.
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