The state of things: Moffat County track preparing for biggest meet yet | CraigDailyPress.com

The state of things: Moffat County track preparing for biggest meet yet

Bulldogs qualify in 24 events for championships

Moffat County High School relay teammates Riley Allen, left, and Carter Severson exchange the baton during the Clint Wells Invitational. The two are among the many track and field athletes for MCHS who will attend the state championships Thursday through Saturday. The Bulldogs will compete in 24 events, including Allen, Severson, Kayla Pinnt, Quinn Pinnt, Selena Hernandez, Ary Shaffer, Shandon Hadley, Mikinzie Klimper, Eddie Smercina, Mattie Jo Duzik, Allie Dilldine, Emma Samuelson, Connor Scranton, Josie Timmer, Kaden Hafey, Elias Peroulis, Madysen Cramer, Victor Silva, Emily Womble, Keenan Hildebrandt, Morgan Lawton and Charli Earle.

Music was blaring from the Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School Bulldog Proving Grounds Tuesday afternoon, but the tunes weren’t so much celebratory as a method to pump up everyone there. The celebration will come after this weekend if all goes well. Bulldog Proving Grounds Tuesday afternoon, but the tunes weren't so much celebratory as a method to pump up everyone there. The celebration will come after this weekend if all goes well.

Moffat County High School Bulldog Proving Grounds Tuesday afternoon, but the tunes weren't so much celebratory as a method to pump up everyone there. The celebration will come after this weekend if all goes well.

MCHS track and field qualified athletes in 24 events for the 3A State Championships Thursday through Saturday in Lakewood, and the Bulldogs are ready and raring to win some medals.

The days leading up to state and the preparation and energy involved are something to which head coach Todd Trapp has grown accustomed, helping athletes make their final tweaks to achieve greatness.

"We're getting fresh and ready to run fast," he said during Tuesday's practice as everyone finished a series of warm-ups and went straight to their stations. "These kids have been working hard and it's going to be the last time for some of these seniors to step onto the track, put on a Moffat County uniform and represent our school."

Kayla Pinnt heads into the final week of track as the top 3A seed in all three dash events, the two-time defending champ of both the 100- and 200-meter and also one of only two girls in the division to have a time under the one-minute mark in the 400. She won't be alone in any of the sprints, though, with sister Quinn, a freshman, and fellow senior Selena Hernandez in both the 100 and 200 and upperclassmen Ary Shaffer competing in the 400, as well.

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While Hernandez will also take on the 100 hurdles, in which she barely missed the final round last season, Shaffer will again be hopping into the long jump pit of Jefferson County Stadium, which saw her place ninth last year.

And, she plans to be higher on the podium this time.

"Last week was a good week for jumping, I've got my springs back, and I'm excited to get back out there and see what I can do," she said. "I just have to work on my approach."

In individual races, junior Mattie Jo Duzik will again take on both the 800 and 1,600 runs, while senior Emily Womble is in the 3,200, with both girls as high as sixth place at the 2015 state finals. Morgan Lawton will also compete in the discus for the second consecutive year, with fellow senior Charli Earle also representing Moffat County in the thrower's circle.

"You don't see a lot of teams with two throwers at the state meet, that's pretty special," noted MCHS field coach Lance Scranton.

The Bulldog boys have roughly doubled the number of events they'll be in compared to last year, including senior Shandon Hadley in the 100 and 200 dash, finishing 12th in the 200 last year.

Though the drive to finish his final year with a victory is great, he also doesn't want to put excess pressure on himself.

"I'm just trying to stay relaxed, have fun," he said.

Eddie Smercina will be in the long jump again, while fellow junior Keenan Hildebrandt enters state for the first time in both shot put and discus, ranked third in 3A in the latter.

Also taking on their races for the first time at such a level are sophomore Mikinzie Klimper in the 300 hurdles and freshman Carter Severson in the 1,600.

Out of the nine relay races on the state schedule, the Bulldogs will be in all but the 800 sprint medley, boys and girls each qualifying in the 4×100, 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800.

Last season, the girls 4×100 and 4×200 each won first place, and the 4×100 list of qualifiers has MCHS as the only 3A group to crack 50 seconds this year.

Likewise, last weekend's Tiger Invitational saw the 4×400 team not only break a school record as their time plummeted but also rocketed them past every other school in the standings, nearly 10 seconds ahead of the nearest contender, Platte Valley.

The Broncos are also the closest competition in the 4×200, their best time only a hair faster than the Lady Dogs, while the Moffat County 4×800 stands as the third seed behind Peak to Peak and Eaton.

Boys are 18th in the 4×100 and 17th in the 4×200, while the longer races involving batons have the Bulldogs 10th in the 4×400 and ninth in the 4×800, MCHS having been ranked at the top of the two-mile relay list earlier this season.

Among those participating on one or more relays will be the Pinnts, Hernandez, Shaffer, Hadley, Klimper, Smercina, Severson, Duzik, senior Allie Dilldine; juniors Emma Samuelson, Riley Allen, and Connor Scranton; sophomores Josie Timmer, Kaden Hafey and Elias Peroulis; and freshmen Madysen Cramer and Victor Silva.

In his first year of track, Peroulis is glad to have been able to contribute to the boys relays, not only finding a niche for himself but taking it all the way to state.

"I did track to recover for my knee, and it's worked, I've gotten a lot quicker," he said, noting the new speed will come in handy for football season. "I won't be getting caught on a 90-yard run again."

Samuelson, was on both the championship relay teams last season with older sibling Lauren, and though the roster isn't the same, the competitiveness is just as fierce.

"I'm glad I have these girls," she said, referring to her teammates who are mostly seniors. "It's going to be hard with this being their last year."

The work ethic of the track and field was epitomized during the Western Slope Multi-Leagues Meet earlier this month when Trapp was named the 3A Girls Coach of the Year, though he's not about to claim too much of that honor.

"It's a bunch of kids that won that award, coming together really well, and I've got a great staff to work with to make that happen," he said.

While Trapp may not be willing to sing his own praises, his fellow coaches — including Kip Hafey, David Pressgrove, Maddy Jourgensen and Jesse LeRose — won't let him stay humble, least of all Lance Scranton.

"Todd's a great leader, he organizes things, he lets us coach and run things and that's what makes him so successful," he said. "He trusts in us."

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