For most of the season, senior sprinter Ryan Proffitt has pushed himself to the limits in the 100-meter dash with hopes of crossing the finish line first.
His finishes have been strong, but until last weekend in Glenwood Springs, his good friend and fellow sprinter, Tyler Johnson, has managed to overshadow him.
But when Johnson pulled out of the finals in Saturday's meet with a sore leg, it took just 11.70 seconds for Proffitt to grab his moment in the spotlight.
"Sure, the first time I have a chance to beat him and he pulls out of the finals," Proffitt joked. "I was really happy to win, but I wish that Tyler had run in the finals -- the way I was running I know I could've beaten him."
Proffitt and Johnson run on several relay teams together and are just a couple of buddies who enjoy pushing each other's competitive buttons with a little good-natured ribbing.
Proffitt's first-place finish Saturday did little to dampen the chemistry.
"He told me after the race that I should wait until Moffat County," Proffitt said. "He likes to give me a hard time because he is a junior and I'm a senior."
The two Steamboat sprinter have been neck-and-neck for most of the season. Proffitt said he almost topped his teammate in West Grand a couple of week's ago, but Johnson came from behind to win the race in the final 10 feet.
"It's great," Proffitt said. "We are always pushing each other to be better."
But in Glenwood, nobody would deny Proffitt of his first victory of the season. He topped a pair of Rifle runners in the final heat to take the title.
David Suminski finished second at 11.73, and Brian Hileman was third with a time of 12.03.
Coach Andy Reust thinks Proffitt's finish is the start of a trend for the senior runner, who has been battling the effects of shin splints for most of the season.
"I usually don't notice it when I'm running, but as soon as I finish my legs start hurting," Proffitt said. "I've never had shin splints before, but I think it's just something that I'm going to have to deal with."
The only other Steamboat boy to score points in Glenwood was Jeremy Hays, who took fourth in the 400-meter dash. It was Hays' first meet of the season. Steamboat finished 11th in the meet, which Rifle won.
Steamboat's Jessica Peters continued to dominate the sprinting events and highlighted the day for the Steamboat Springs team.
Peters recorded first-place finishes in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes at the meet.
Katie Conrath also had a personal best time of 5:59.89 to place fifth in the 1,600-meter run. Missy Chotvacs jumped 32 feet 2 3/4 inches to finish fifth in the triple jump, and Shelly Dunlop threw 32-4 1/2 in the shot put to take seventh. The girls placed seventh in the meet, which was won by Palisade.
Reust expects 12 Steamboat athletes to make the trip to Rifle this week for the next meet on the schedule. Most of the Steamboat athletes will be on spring break, but the coach said it would be a good opportunity for the ones who are in town.
The following week, Steamboat will host a meet April 30 and compete in Moffat County on May 3.
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