Jefferson County Steamboat Springs junior Rachel Starr sat on the infield of Jeffco Stadium Friday afternoon following the 400-meter dash knowing just one thing for certain.
"I'm exhausted," Starr said as she fell back into the cool green grass just a few feet from the hot all-weather surface where other heats of the 400 were still in progress. "I was happy because I'm pretty sure I got a PR (personal record). It felt pretty good for a 400."
Starr had raced in the first heat of the 4A 400-meter dash which turned out to have some of the fastest times. The top two finishers from each heat, plus the next fastest three times advanced to today's finals
"She ran a very smart race," Sailors coach Mike Hill said. "She went real hard the last 200 meters, but couldn't hold it all the way through. But she left it all out on the track, what else can you ask for."
In the final 100-meters of the race, Starr and Moffat County's Laurel Mortensen were so close that it took the Acu-Track photo to pick a winner after the race was over. Mortensen finished at 60.37 and Starr was at 60.45.
Starr, however, did get an invitation to finals since she posted one of the fastest times out off all three heats.
"My goal going into this race was just to make it to the finals," Starr said. "So now I just want to have a solid race I'm not looking for a place now, just a race that feels good."
Starr will be one of two Steamboat athletes left competing at the state championships today. Fellow junior Kyle Svendsen who will compete in the triple jump which is one of the field event slated on the last day of the state meet.
As for hurdler Darren Lucas, his 15-seconds of fame came to an end on Friday. The senior ran a 16.22 in the preliminaries of the 110-high hurdles a good time, but well out of the range to qualify for the finals.
"You don't really breathe very hard at the end (of the 110-meter hurdles), so it doesn't feel like much of a race," Lucas said. "I'm disappointed. I thought I could have beaten at least one guy in my heat but they were all really fast."
The Sailors 400-meter relay team's season also ended with a respectable showing, but the time was not good enough to make it to the finals.
The squad of Ryan Johnson, Patrick McMahon, Svendsen and Ryan Wattles had a season-best time of 45.60. It was a 2-second improvement over their best outing this year.
"We didn't expect to make it this far, so we were happy with our race," the freshman McMahon said.
Johnson echoed his teammates' feelings after the race.
"We had our best exchanges this season," Johnson said. "We are a young team, so this was a great experience. I'm sure we will be back."
Four titles were given out on the first day of the 4A state track meet. The most notable was the girls 3,200-meter relay which was won by Moffat County.
The squad of Stephanie Hurd, Charlotte Steele, Laurel Mortensen and Emily Mortensen finished the race in a state record time of 9:26.01. The Bulldogs held off second-place finisher Dakota Ridge (9:28.33) and third-place finisher Mullen (9:45.81).
Harrison won the state title in the boys 3,200-meter run at 7:58.68. Liberty was second and Mullen came in third.
Individual titles also were handed out in the 1,600-meter run. Palisade's Natalie Hughes set a meet record en route to her third title in the event. She finished at 5:04.90. Moffat County's Danielle Brown was 11th in the race.
Lewis Palmer's Jared Scott won the boy's 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:13.12, which was also a meet record. Moffat County's Kelly Christensen was sixth.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail email@example.com