For some athletes, the state track and field meet is all about winning. For others, such as Steamboat Springs' Tyler Johnson, success isn't measured by finishing first but by running the way he envisioned.
Except for several athletes -- most notably Soroco sprinters Andy deGanahl and Kory Babcock -- the best track and field athletes in Colorado are gathered at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood this weekend.
Mullen's Nathan Yorks holds the All-Classification records in the 100 and 200 meters, the same events Johnson qualified in. York could sit in the blocks to make sure the gun goes off and still win.
Johnson knows it but said he doesn't get discouraged with the knowledge that everyone else is racing for a spot other than first.
Friday, Yorks eased to preliminary times of 10.63 seconds in the 100 and 22.32 in the 200, saving himself for today's finals. Johnson qualified in both, as well, finishing in 11.15 and 22.63, respectively.
"I know that I don't have the training or speed to get first," Johnson said.
Instead, he focuses on times, and while he didn't get the 11.00 he wanted Friday. He has a chance in today's finals, which is more than last year.
This is also senior Hannah Gary's final trip to state. Last season, she qualified in the high jump. This year, she is a member of the 400-meter relay team that finished 15th in preliminaries with a 52.01. Other team members were sophomores Hannah Bowers and Missy Chotvacs and freshman Patricia Henderson.
Gary also qualified for today's finals in the 100-meter hurdles, a goal of hers all season. She finished in ninth in 16.25 but feels she can run a better time. She will be on one of the outside lanes, which is fine by her.
"I hit people when I run, and it's less nerve-racking if I'm on the outside," Gary said.
Also qualifying for today's finals was Steamboat's 800-meter medley team, which ran first thing Friday morning. Before the weather warmed up, the quartet of Chotvacs, Bowers, sophomore Jessica Peters and Henderson turned in a school record 1:50.00 to qualify third. Peters and Henderson swapped legs because of Peters' foot injury, but it didn't matter in the final results, though Bowers said she was nervous of what might happen in Friday's preliminaries.
"I was concerned because I'd never handed off with Pete," Bowers said. "We've never had a running handoff until the race, but she's pretty much the same speed as Patricia. ... I think we surprised a lot of people with our time."
Harrison qualified with the top time of 1:46.68.
Peters also qualified for today's 400-meter finals with a 59.13. She is the defending state champion, but it appears as if Sierra's Katasha McCormick will be tough to beat after she ran a 56.58 in preliminaries. Henderson finished 12th in 60.00
Chotvacs placed 12th in today's triple jump finals, leaping 33 feet, 11 1/2 inches. Junior Kayla Kostur was 15th with a jump of 32-8.
Sophomore Walker Hammond finished 16th in the 300-meter hurdle preliminaries in 43.11
In other finals Friday, Steamboat junior Jennifer Hooper placed 14th in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:37.20. Today she runs in the 3,200 finals. Her teammate Tyler O'Leary, a senior, placed 12th in the 1,600-meter finals Friday with a time of 4:44.69. He runs in today's 3,200-meter finals, as well.
Sophomore Tara King starts her Class 4A meet today with the 800-meter finals.
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