Time to tweak

Steamboat boys relay's switchup proves costly in Craig

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Now, Steamboat Springs' 3,200-meter relay team of Andy Garber, Matt Hill, Walker Hammond and Alec Nelson knows what it has to do -- and who its competition is.

On Saturday, the Sailors finished third in 8 minutes, 26.70 seconds, well behind their best time of the season.

Battle Mountain and Moffat County, regional opponents, defeated Steamboat in cold, rainy weather. Three teams is all the Sailors' region is allowed to send to the state meet and Montezuma-Cortez will figure into the mix in the coming weeks.

None of the four teams figures to prequalify for state with the Class 4A standard sitting at 8:11.87 and only one weekend left before regionals.

On Saturday, Steamboat tinkered with the order, sending Garber first and Hill second. The two likely will reverse spots in time for the Tiger Invitational next weekend in Grand Junction.

"I do better in the lead," Hill said. "Garber's a better chaser. We flew in Palisade compared to (Saturday)."

The combination of rain, snow and low temperatures prevented the Sailors from doing much "flying" at the Clint Wells Invitational, but the four continued to learn how to approach each leg of the race.

"I am the most experienced, and I'm the youngest," Hill said.

Hill was one of few Steamboat athletes who stuck around for the afternoon session of Saturday's meet because of prom. Had the Sailors fielded a full team for the duration of Saturday's meet, it would have been interesting to see how things would have turned out considering things went so well in the morning.

Jessica Peters, Tara King and Kayla Kostur

swept the top spots in the high jump. Peters cleared 5 feet on her first attempt and then stopped. King and Kostur tied for second at 4-10.

"It was really slick, and the mats were really wet," Kostur said.

Chotvacs and Kostur also went second and third, respectively, in the triple jump but left before the finals. Their preliminary jumps were good enough to get them medals. Kostur and Chotvacs have been two of Steamboat's most consistent performers this season, perhaps a breakthrough year for Kostur, who jumps exclusively.

"I would say it's strength and another year of experience," Kostur said. "Last year, I jumped 14-11 in the long jump and jumped 5 foot once last season."

This year, Kostur already has prequalified for state in the high jump, having cleared 5-4. She also is jumping well beyond 15 feet in the long jump.

Peters had the top qualifying times in the 100 and 200 meters but did not run in the finals. Freshman Chelsea Mosser had the third-fastest time in the 200 but did not run in the finals.

Mosser was present for the 800-meter relay, which took first in 1:51.98. Her teammates were Hannah Bowers, Chotvacs and Patricia Henderson.

"I thought I would be a jumper, not a sprinter," Mosser said. "(Coach Andy Reust) approached me a couple weeks into the season. It's fun because we win a lot."

Bowers, Chotvacs, Henderson and Peters also won the 800-meter medley relay convincingly in 1:55.94.

Steamboat's next meet will be its final competition before the regional meet. The Sailors will take part in the two-day Tiger Invitational meet in Grand Junction. The field should feature many of Steamboat's regional opponents.

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