Weather hinders track team at Rifle

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— The wind and cold made Saturday's meet in Rifle seem more like an early season event for the members of the Sailors track team.

"It was just plain nasty," Sailors assistant coach Lonn Clementson said. "The wind definitely slowed our times down a bit."

But while the Rifle meet might have seemed like the first one of the season, the truth is time is quickly running out on the 2002 high school track season. The Sailors have two meets left on the schedule, including this Saturday's qualifier in Craig and the regional meet May 10 and 11 at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. For the lucky few who manage to make the state qualifying times or place high enough in Grand Junction, the Colorado State Track and Field Championships will take place in Jefferson County May 17 and 18.

"The wind was terrible," Steamboat hurdler Jessica Flores said of the meet at Rifle. "Our times were more like middle school times."

Flores had hoped to use the meet as a way to gauge where she was standing among the top hurdlers in the regional, but the wind made it difficult. The senior said she is focused on making the qualifying cut for state this year in her main event the 100-meter hurdles.

"This is an important meet," Clementson said. "This is our last chance to prequalify and this will also be an important meet for training purposes."

Last weekend, Clementson said his team was still feeling the side effects of spring break. The wind hindered times, but Clementson said the Sailor athletes were also impacted from a weeklong stretch with no meets. Flores said the cold weather in Rifle didn't help either.

"Right before spring break, we went to the Palisade meet," Flores said. "So we all thought we were done with the cold weather."

Unfortunately, the Sailors found out they were not done with winter when they returned to Rifle and faced the early spring conditions.

Top results came from Matt Haltom, who was fifth in the 110-meter high hurdles (18.81); Ryan Proffitt, who was seventh in the 100-meter dash (11.7); Pat McMahon, who was seventh in the 400 meter dash (55.44); Jeremy Hays, who was seventh in the 800-meter run (2:08); Ian Ramsay, who was eighth in the 800-meter run (2:10); and Tyler Johnson, who was seventh in the 200-meter dash (25.1).

On the girls' side, Flores' third-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles (16.7) and Lennae Jenkins' third in the 400-meter dash (64.51) highlighted the results.

Jenkins also posted a seventh in the 800 with a time of 2:39.

"This will be a big meet this weekend because it will be our last chance before regionals to face the competition," Flores said. "It's important to know that you can beat those runners before you get to regionals."

Flores has finished fourth (just one spot away from qualifying) in the 100-meter high hurdles just about every year she has been on the team. Last year she qualified for state on the 1,600-meter relay team.

While some of the top juniors will miss the meet because of SATs, Flores is looking forward to another shot at the top seniors from around the region.

Clementson said the Sailors would take about 28 runners to Craig for the Moffat County meet which is down about five athletes.

The running events will begin at 9:20 a.m. at Moffat County High School on Saturday.

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