The state of things: Moffat County track preps for final day of championships | CraigDailyPress.com

The state of things: Moffat County track preps for final day of championships

Bulldog girls place in discus, 800, 4x200; sprints, relays, hurdles, 1,600, long jump in store

Moffat County High School's Kaden Hafey rushes for the finish line late in the day Friday in the boys 4x400-meter relay at the 3A State Track and Field Championships. MCHS athletes will compete in numerous events in the final day of the meet, including sprints, relays, hurdles, the one-mile run and long jump.

Lakewood — As the midway point of the State Track and Field Championships, Friday was a day of pleasant surprises for some members of the — As the midway point of the State Track and Field Championships, Friday was a day of pleasant surprises for some members of the Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School teams while others were not as happy with their final standings and the rest are reserving judgment for the grand finale. teams while others were not as happy with their final standings and the rest are reserving judgment for the grand finale.

— As the midway point of the State Track and Field Championships, Friday was a day of pleasant surprises for some members of the Moffat County High School teams while others were not as happy with their final standings and the rest are reserving judgment for the grand finale.

Field fortitude

Again Keenan Hildebrandt was the first of the Bulldogs to get into the game, stepping into the shot put ring with a No. 9 seed, but unlike the third-place discus finish from the day before, his throws in the morning session were a ways off his season best, placing 18th at 38 feet, 3.5 inches.

The dynamic discus duo of Morgan Lawton and Charli Earle were the next to get going, each hoping to make the finals to complete their senior season, ranked sixth and 16th, respectively.

In the first heat, Earle gained two strikes against her when her first throw ricocheted off the pole of the ring enclosure and the second was ruled a foul as she stepped over the line. Third time was the charm as she hit 101 feet, 11 inches.

After a season of regularly surpassing triple digits, Lawton was ready to surpass her record of 113' 6.5", but the pressure got to her as she twice threw in the high 90s, her best 100' 4" to end it 13th.

Recommended Stories For You

"I was nervous, couldn't focus, and I just didn't have the release," she said.

One Lady Dog's loss was the other's gain, as Earle secured the last spot in the finals as a result and shared a hug with Lawton as an informal blessing from the teammate no longer in the mix.

The good energy worked, as Earle promptly achieved the farthest toss of her career on her first attempt of the round, 109 feet, five inches and sixth place for the day in her first time ever at the state meet.

"It's been crazy, I couldn't have imagined," Earle said with a smile before taking the podium to be recognized by the crowd.

In the running

Moffat County had its fewest individual track events Friday, but the two who were on their own both made the most of it.

After a half-mile run in Thursday's 4×800-meter relay and other group activities to come later in the day, Mattie Jo Duzik again had two full laps around the Jeffco Stadium oval in front of her with the 800 run.

On one hand, the 2 minutes, 24.19 seconds was nearly two seconds slower than her finish in the same event last season. Conversely, she took seventh place honors — her same seed going into the day — this time around after receiving eighth in 2015.

Duzik will also take on the 1,600 run Saturday, as will Carter Severson for the Bulldog boys.

With the 12th-best qualifying time in the 300 hurdles, all Mikinzie Klimper could do was run his best race to move on to the finals, though the Superman socks that have seen him through the season no doubt played a part, too.

Whether it was a little extra speed from the Man of Steel or just greater determination on his part, the sophomore hurdler flew along the course and over the obstacles to his best time yet of 41.49 seconds to place ninth for Saturday's next round.

Passing the baton

Klimper's socks couldn't fix every issue the Dogs faced Friday, the day ending frustratingly for MCHS boys as they hoped to get one more shot at a final day relay in the 4×400 preliminaries. Whether they would have or not may never be answered, but as Klimper began the third leg in the one-mile relay getting the hand-off from Connor Scranton, he had to veer around a competitor who stopped short too soon, costing the Dogs precious time, ending it 14th at 3:36.91.

Shandon Hadley started off the race, while Kaden Hafey anchored, and though they both give it their all, Hafey felt he struggled more than he should have.

"It's tough, the team got me in a good spot, and I couldn't get where I wanted to get," he said.

Hafey also served as anchor in the 4×100 earlier in the day with Eddie Smercina starting, Victor Silva and Elias Peroulis in the middle, the quartet clocking in at 46.40 seconds and moving up to No. 16 from their 18 seed.

The single-lap relay fared better for the girls, who came into state with the best time in 3A, gaining the second-best prelim time results Friday at 50.41 with Emma Samuelson leading off, followed by Quinn Pinnt, Ary Shaffer and Kayla Pinnt.

Lady Dogs will compete in both the 4×100 and 4×400 finals Saturday, gaining a ninth-seed in the one-mile relay prelims to conclude their day as Samuelson, Duzik and Josie Timmer ran the first three legs and Madysen Cramer gutted it out at the end for a photo finish with Basalt, .008 seconds behind the Longhorns' Nicole Alvarado for 4:15.93.

"I think she was stressed and that if she didn't make it, we'd be mad at her but no," Samuelson said of Cramer, a freshman, acknowledging it was a tough race for all four. "I don't know how we made it, but we did."

Between the prelims, Samuelson also kicked things off for the girls 4×200 as they competed in their final race, handing off to Quinn Pinnt who passed it to Timmer. Selena Hernandez had the last leg, crossing the finish line — in fifth place at 1:47.52 — on the verge of tears for multiple reasons.

The MCHS senior said she was unsure of the right spot to stand in her lane to receive the baton from Timmer, which threw off the trade greatly.

"I had to run back my triangle and just kind of eyeball it," Hernandez said. "I'm still really proud of what we did."

Hernandez also had difficulty keeping her emotions in check due to it being her last high school relay. Though she'll have a busy Saturday in the finals for 100 and 200 dash and 100 hurdles and will continue in the sport at University of Colorado-Colorado Springs after she graduates, the reality of her last Moffat County group sprint hit her harder than the runner's wall ever could.

"I know I'll have UCCS, but the girls I make friends with there aren't going to be as close as the amazing people that I've met here and made bonds with here," she said. "These girls are like my family."

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.