Steamboat Invite sees new school record, high league rankings for Bulldog track and field
For the Craig Daily Press
One busy week leads into another as Moffat County High School track and field enters the final stretch of its schedule, with many big highlights in their latest competition.
MCHS teams each finished second overall Saturday during the Steamboat Springs Invitational, boys behind the hosting Sailors and girls behind a dominant and abundant Coal Ridge group. With a meet in Hayden only three days behind them, Bulldog athletes shifted around to some different events, or in some cases, more familiar ones.
Emaleigh Papierski, Emma Jones, Sadie Smilanich and Halle Hamilton set a new school record in the 4×200-meter relay, cutting significant time off the Dogs’ previous season best in the event to win it at 1:44.8 and remain ranked the best in the league.
The previous school record was set during the 2014 state meet. Papierski, Jones and Hamilton were part of the 2019 state champion 4×200 race, and this crew ran nearly a full second faster Saturday than their time two years ago.
Coaches Todd Trapp and David Pressgrove noted the group’s tenacity against a competitive field.
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Though as a freshman she traditionally ran the earlier stretches, Hamilton served as the relay anchor to complete the last leg.
“It’s so much pressure being anchor, but I enjoy it,” Hamilton said. “When I see my teammates go and that gun goes off, my confidence is so boosted by their running. All the nerves go out, and I can just run, which is awesome.”
The time of 1:44.8 makes the quartet the favorite in the 3A Western Slope League rankings, and besides edging out Coal Ridge in Steamboat, the same foursome also knocked the Titans off the apex of the league leaderboard with a victory in the 4×400 relay at a time of 4:05.23.
“Halle really held off Coal Ridge’s stud,” Pressgrove said of the final leg. “That was an exciting race.”
While the Bulldogs beat out both Steamboat and Coal Ridge teams in the longer relay, it’s the Titans they’ll need to watch out for in the 3A division.
Hamilton credited Coal Ridge’s Peyton Garrison with motivating her in the race.
“I love racing against Peyton because she is a really strong runner and a good person to push you,” Hamilton said.
In 2019, Papierski, Jones and Hamilton also set the school record in the 4×4 along with then-teammate Stephenie Swindler. With Smilanich, they’ll seek further glory as the season continues.
Hamilton noted that with three weeks left in the season, she expects the record board will likely see an even lower time in the 4×2.
“We are definitely going to knock some time off. We’ve got so much more left in us,” she said.
After setting the mark for the new team best in the high jump a few days earlier, sophomore Evan Atkin was back in his element in the long jump, which he won with a new personal record of 22 feet and a half inch, edging out his own best mark and staying at the top of the league rankings in the event.
Atkin also won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.53 seconds, a heartbeat ahead of teammate Logan Hafey, who still holds the best time in the WSL in both hurdle events (16.1, 40.34), though he did not run the 300 hurdles in Steamboat.
After struggling Wednesday in Hayden, Papierski won Steamboat’s 400 dash at 1:01.17, though she and Hamilton — who won in Hayden at 58.64 — will be staying competitive in the quarter-mile race’s league rankings.
The Sailor boys were just ahead of MoCo’s relay runners, but even at second place on the day, Atkin, Taran Teeter, and Logan and Ian Hafey brought the Bulldogs’ 4×200 time down to 1:32.97 to remain in the lead for the league. The same group did even better in the 4×400, bringing their season best to 3:31.58, earning the silver Saturday and remaining the top-ranked 3A WSL group.
Despite falling to Summit’s Corey Johnson in the boys discus for the day at Steamboat, Corey Scranton bumped up his previous best in Hayden a few inches to 134-5 to take second place for the meet and stay at first in the league.
Though the league best didn’t change Saturday in the girls long jump, Cayden King is getting ever closer with a PR Saturday, placing second in the meet at 16-1.75.
Similarly, cousins Emma and Alexis Jones battled it out in the high jump, tying for second place in Steamboat, both at 4-11. Ian Trevenen also hit a new best in the boys event, reaching 5-10 for second, followed by Evan Beaver in third at 5-8.
Alexis also earned the bronze in the 400 dash, while she also led off a 4×100 relay with Smilanich, King and Antonia Vasquez to place third.
MCHS track and field will compete this Thursday and Friday at the Western Slope Multi-Leagues Meet at Colorado Mesa University’s Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.
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