During Tuesday's warm-ups, Soroco track coach Gary Heide reminded his athletes there was no time for slacking and complacency because everyone at state will be just as good as the Rams.
Yeah, a confident Karli Babcock said, but no one will be better.
It will be impossible to disagree with her if Soroco's state qualifiers run their best at the Class 2A Track and Field Meet, which opens Friday at Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo.
In the past four years, Soroco has gone from sending one runner to state to sending 10 athletes in 11 events.
"Originally, when you are first trying to get kids qualified, just getting there is your main goal," Heide said. "This year, we have a returning state champion, and I know a couple of the relays have a chance of being state champions. We want to be able to do our best, and it takes a lot of concentration and focus."
The Rams head to state with legitimate title hopes in the 200 and 400, as Andy deGanahl, a junior, seeks to defend both titles. Senior Kory Babcock made a firm claim as the next best 400 runner in 2A at last weekend's regional meet, defeating Telluride's Dillon Bosch.
In addition, the quartet of deGanahl, Babcock, Trevor Ellis and Carl Remick have state title hopes in the 1,600-meter relay, an event that has become all-consuming since the team (minus Remick) took third place last season. Their determination has carried over this season.
"This year, the boys and girls wanted to come into state with top times," Heide said. "They wanted to be the ones people were shooting at, and they are proud of that, but they have learned that times don't mean anything. You have to go down and do better. That's the greatest thing they know. You either step up and run better or you won't make finals."
And if the Rams run better this weekend than they did last weekend at regionals, more school records will fall.
Karli Babcock, Nichole Wilson, Kyla Schmidt and Melissa Roy set records in the 400-meter, 800-meter medley and 800-meter relays last Saturday. While they have the potential to make the finals in all three events, the 400-meter and 800-meter relays are the two better events for the girls. They won both convincingly at the regional meet.
Schmidt also qualified in the long jump after leaping 16 feet, 1 inch to set a new record last weekend, while Roy qualified in the 100. This will be Roy's second trip to the state meet after moving from Baltimore before last season.
"Everyone has so much heart to run here and is very dedicated to it," Roy said.
In addition to the 400 and 1,600-meter relay, deGanahl and Kory Babcock will team with Tony Iacovetto and Ellis in the 800-meter relay. Babcock is also in the triple jump. Babcock and deGanahl also qualified in the long jump and 100, respectively, but scratched because they can compete in only four events.
While nine of Soroco's athletes expect to place in at least one event at state, there is one who is happy just to be going. Sophomore Kieran Corrigan ran a personal best 4:48.73 to qualify in the 1,600 meters. He shaved 20 seconds off his previous personal-best time to take third and earn a state spot. Tuesday, he ran timed 800s, while his teammates worked on handoffs.
"He's pretty proud," Heide said. "I don't think he'll be very intimidated. He keeps his nerves in place."
The Class 2A/3A meet begins at 9:30 a.m. Friday with a series of field events and the preliminary runs of the 800-meter medley.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208
or e-mail email@example.com