The state of things: Moffat County track places in multiple events Thursday |

The state of things: Moffat County track places in multiple events Thursday

Bulldogs finish strong in 4x800 relays, boys discus, girls 3,200 run

The members of the Moffat County High School girls and boys 4x800-meter relay teams find some shade beneath the bleachers after a hot race at the State Track and Field Championships. Girls placed second, boys ninth, each with their best time of the season. From left: Mattie Jo Duzik, Madysen Cramer, Allie Dilldine, Ary Shaffer, Riley Allen, Connor Scranton, Mikinzie Klimper and Carter Severson.
Andy Bockelman

Lakewood — The quest for precious metals is on, and — The quest for precious metals is on, and Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School has already crossed some off their checklist. No gold so far, but there are still days to come. has already crossed some off their checklist. No gold so far, but there are still days to come.

— The quest for precious metals is on, and Moffat County High School has already crossed some off their checklist. No gold so far, but there are still days to come.

In the first day of the 3A CHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Jefferson County Stadium, the Bulldogs placed in four events, including the boys discus, girls 3,200-meter run and boys and girls 4×800 relays.

Thrown for a loop

Keenan Hildebrandt kicked off the day in the field for Moffat County, taking third place with a toss of 146 feet, 11 inches. Though one foot short of his personal best, the throw was nonetheless a result of the Dogs’ top man for arm strength being in great form, winning the bronze thanks to four feet pushing him past his nearest competitor.

The discus turf came complete with a Colorado state flag painted in the middle, and while the top two throwers, Lutheran’s Adam Dawson and Platte Valley’s Parker Joens, were the only one ones to overshoot the paint job entirely, Hildy was still happy with hitting the big red C and the blue, white and yellow surrounding it.

“I feel really good, the dream’s been accomplished,” he said.

The MCHS junior will also be back in throwing mode Friday as he tackles the shot put, working to stay in the same mindset.

“All I can do is do what I do,” he chuckled.

Going the distance

The Bulldogs qualified for state in nearly all relay events, but it was only the 4×800 teams who were racing in the finals Thursday, and each of the two-mile groups took their best time of the year to end the season.

The girls 4×800 took a solid second place and broke 10 minutes for the first time at 9 minutes, 59.32 seconds, with Ary Shaffer leading off, handing off to half-sister Madysen Cramer for the next leg, Allie Dilldine next and Mattie Jo Duzik serving as the anchor.

With a qualifying time of 9:27.67 heading into state, Peak to Peak remained the top team at 9:47.71, but the Lady Dogs had already declared if they couldn’t beat the Pumas, they would still be finishing in front of all other 16 schools.

Duzik said she was able to provide a good finish thanks to the three girls in front of her.

“I trusted in my team, I knew they could put us in a good spot,” she said.

While the girls had most of the season to perfect their synchronicity, the boys 4×8 was constructed of a group that has only been competing as a foursome for about a month. With the loss of Diego Quezada to injury, Mikinzie Klimper stepped in back in April alongside Riley Allen, Carter Severson and Connor Scranton.

Allen started things off with an explosive pace, the Dogs holding the lead as he passed the baton to Severson.

“I had about 100 left to go, and I felt really, really great, so I just kept going,” Allen said.

Klimper ran the third leg, with Scranton anchoring, and as he charged toward the finish line, placing in the top tier was his only objective, achieving it — despite an initial confusion with results thanks to his seed number sticker being upside-down — at ninth place at 8:28.53.

Taking the No. 9 spot is an improvement over last season, when the Dogs did not make the cut for the podium. And, the way Klimper sees it, next year will be an even stronger result.

“None of us are leaving, so we have lots of time to get better,” he said.

The girls relay was the final high school outing for Dilldine, a senior who narrowly missed going to state in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, both of which she competed in last season. Still, earning a silver medal was a decent trade.

“I was a little sad I’m not running the 16 and 32, but it really allowed me to focus on just this race and help my team,” she said. “I’m definitely going to miss it, but it was a good way to leave.”

Fellow senior Emily Womble also saw her last day of competition as the girls 3,200 embarked, ending it eighth with her best time this year, 12:14.51.

Womble got a late start to the season and was short of the sixth-place result she saw last year but was still happy to place.

“Everybody here got a month more practicing than I did, so I can’t complain,” she said.

Counting down to finals

A season that has seen school records get replaced more than a faulty light bulb saw the best time in the MCHS girls 100 dash drop once again as Kayla Pinnt rocketed to her lowest time ever at 11.88 seconds in the preliminary round, gaining the top seed time for the finals and positioning herself .06 seconds away from the best time the state meet has ever seen.

The Bulldogs’ top sprinter had to hold off from going full blast in the following 200 and 400 prelims, taking the second seed in both, though she won’t be alone in either. Kayla’s younger sister Quinn — with whom she’ll compete later in the meet in the 4×100 relay — did not move past the prelims in the 100 or 200, though Selena Hernandez did in each, and Shaffer in the 400.

Far from desiring solitude at race time, Kayla said she prefers running alongside teammates.

“They keep me calm, they’re such good friends,” she said.

Hernandez will also move on to the finals in the 100 hurdles and had the second-best time in the 100 dash prelims.

“It’d be an honor to be second to Kayla,” she said.

In the brief time between the girls 3A 100 dash and the boys, a small breeze kicked up and just as quickly left for the second heat, which prevented Shandon Hadley from making the cut despite a peak time of 11.43. However, he had better luck in the 200 dash, seeded eighth for the finals at 23.12.

The 4×200 teams also raced in prelims Thursday, with mixed results. Boys saw the end of the road, Hadley, Victor Silva, Kaden Hafey and Eddie Smercina finishing 14th at 1:34.45, their best time this season. Girls earned their admission to the next round, fifth with a time of 1:46.92 by Emma Samuelson, Quinn Pinnt, Josie Timmer and Hernandez.

While many Bulldogs have made the trip to state three or four years in a row, it’s the first instance for some, like Timmer, who said she’s feeling much more confident and ready for more after the early stuff.

“At first I was pretty nervous, but now I feel pretty relaxed and that I should be here,” she said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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