Hayden senior Alan Stark pre-qualified for the 2003 Class 2A State Track Meet in the discus, following a personal-best throw at the league meet in Kremmling on May 3.
Stark threw the disc 137 feet, 3 1/2 inches to set a new school record, beating his previous best throw by nearly 6 inches.
He finished second in the event.
"We got a new disc and that has made a difference," assistant coach Leif Jacobsen said. "It has more rim weight, and there were some good winds on Saturday. Also, he finally relaxed a bit and wasn't thinking about it as much."
Jacobsen said the field coaches are taking a similar mental approach with senior Kelly Bruchez in the shot put. He finished second in the shot put and seventh in the discus. Stark won the shot put with a throw of 43-5 1/2, while Bruchez came in with a throw of 41-11 3/4.
"Kelly just didn't have a very good day," Jacobsen said. "I have to tell him to stop thinking, too."
Bruchez and Stark remain near the top in the shot put standings heading into Hayden's regional meet this weekend at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction, consistently throwing more than 40 feet.
The top three finishers in each individual event and relay qualify for the state meet May 16 and 17 in Pueblo.
"I haven't heard much from the region," Jacobsen said. "I don't want them to know where they stand. They'll start thinking about that, too."
Stark has already qualified in the discus, however.
At the league meet, the Hayden girls placed third out of 10 teams, while the boys came in fourth out of 10 teams.
Twenty-two athletes placed for the Tigers in both the track and field events at the meet hosted by West Grand.
First-place finishes were posted by Kayla Kostur in the high jump (4-10), Evan Hilling in the 100 meters (12.20 seconds), Stark in the shot (43-51/2) and the girls 800-meter relay team of Andrea Deepe, Justine Bedell, Jaclyn Etzler and Samantha Schoeberl (2:01.93).
Second-place finishers were Kostur in the triple jump (31-7), Schoeberl in the 100 (13.87), Lauren Branstetter in the 400 meters (1:03.48), Stark in the discus (137-3 1/2), Bruchez in the shot (41-11 3/4), the girls 1,600-meter relay team of Dana Schlingman, Etzler, Schoeberl and Branstetter (4:36.36) and the 400-meter relay team of Schoeberl, Bedell, Branstetter and Etzler (54.23).
Third-place finishers from Hayden were Etzler in the 200 (28.80) and Hilling in the high jump (5-6).
Hayden's 3,200-meter relay team of Kim Walker, Bridget Manley, Aubry Vestal and Hanna Williams finished sixth but set a new school record with a 14:25:99.
Members of Hayden's track team will look to join Stark in the state field at this weekend's regional meet.
Events begin at 9 a.m. Friday at Stocker Stadium. Events resume at 8 a.m. Saturday.