The Steamboat Springs girls track and field team will begin defending its Region 1 title without two of its top competitors.
Juniors Missy Chotvacs and Jessica Peters were scratched from this weekend's meet when coaches from Class 2A, 3A and 4A submitted their final heat sheets Thursday night.
"Missy Chotvacs and Jessica Peters are not participating this weekend," Sailors coach Andy Reust confirmed.
Reust did not elaborate on the reason for their absence, but neither will participate in individual state events, either. Those wishing to run or jump at the Class 4A State Track and Field Championships in individual events must be registered in those same events at regionals.
Peters is the defending high jump state champion and won the 400 meters as a freshman. Chotvacs was a favorite to win a regional title and place at state in the triple jump. Both are important members of relay teams, as well.
Instead, the remaining members will go after their second-straight regional crown and may have a legitimate shot to win it.
Senior Kayla Kostur should do well in the high jump, triple jump and long jump. Seniors Jen Hooper and Katie Conrath and juniors Tara King and Hannah Bowers, sophomores Patricia Henderson and Christie Fielding and freshman Chelsea Mosser are all talented runners, giving Reust options in relays and individual events.
The Sailors likely will need a boost from senior Mackenzie Frank in the hurdles, and freshman Lizzie Stoll and sophomore Erin Gleason in the throwing events to score enough points to win.
Palisade is strong in field events, hurdles and sprint relays, while Moffat County is dominant in the middle distance and distance events.
If the Sailors, who have talent across the board, can spread out those points they may still be able to win the title. The Region 1 meet begins at 9 a.m. today at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.
Hayden and Soroco are at the same meet competing in Region 5.