Johnson: This was a learning experience

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All you needed to do was look into Tyler Johnson's eyes after Friday's 200-meter dash to see he had given everything.

The heat of the day had taken its toll on the Steamboat junior. His entire face screamed exhaustion.

"It was a personal best, so that was good," he said as he gasped for air following his last race. "These runners are really fast, and they pushed me. That's a good thing."

The Steamboat Springs junior had come to Lakewood and the Jefferson County Stadium with hopes of advancing to Saturday's finals in either the 100- or 200-meter dash. But by the end of the day he realized that this was a learning experience.

"Now I know what to expect," Johnson said. "I learned a lot today, and hopefully I can come back next year and win."

He finished 17th in the race, which was won by Fountain Fort Carson's Jon West.

West finished the race in a time of 22.10 seconds to earn the top qualifying spot. Creighton Kiper led a pack of Mullen runners into the finals with the second fastest qualifying time of the say 22.42.

He will be joined by teammates Nathan Yorks, Ryan Harris and Wayne Hicks.

But Johnson and teammate Ryan Proffitt, who ran in the 100, will not be advancing to today's finals.

"This guys kicked my tail," Proffitt said after the 100. "My goal this year was just to get to state. I'm glad that I did ... it was a lot of fun.

Proffitt is a senior, so his 17th place in the 100-meter dash will be his last. He finished with a time of 11.63. Johnson placed 15th with a time of 11.59.

"This was my main goal," Proffitt said. "My goal wasn't to get to the finals, but that would have been nice."

The senior said placing first at the regional meet is one of his best memories. He would have liked to have placed in Lakewood, but he didn't really expect it.

Kiper was the top finisher in the 100 in the preliminaries with a time of 10.76. Yorks was second at 10.97 and West came in third with a time of 11.04.

Distance runner Tyler O'Leary also competed on Friday. He placed 19th in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 10:40.96. That event was won by Stephen Wills of Cheyenne Mountain who cruised to the top spot in a time of 9:32.59 Glenwood Springs' runner Marco Salmon was second at 9:44.83.

The 4A Colorado Track and Field Championships will continue at 10 a.m. today.

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