Grand Junction And to think, Emily Whiteman's parents nearly canceled their hotel room in Pueblo.
One day after Whiteman failed to make the discus finals, having one of her worst days ever in the event, the Hayden junior surprised everyone, including herself, by qualifying for the Class 2A State Track and Field Championships in the shot put Saturday.
Whiteman finished third at the Region 5 meet, throwing a personal best 33 feet, 4 1/3 inches.
Teammate Holli Salazar won the regional shot put title, also a surprise, throwing 33-11.
"We were running around over there," Whiteman said, pointing to a big grass field past the discus ring outside Stocker Stadium. "We were so excited."
The discus is Whiteman's best event, but she failed to make the finals Friday, throwing just 82-3, so she thought her state bid was over.
"I've thrown 104 feet this year, and 103 won it," Whiteman said, shaking her head.
When asked whether she had any expectation of advancing to state Saturday, Whiteman promptly said, "No. Not at all."
Salazar went shopping to celebrate Saturday, so Whiteman spoke on behalf of her teammate.
Between the girls' early throws and the finals, word circulated among Hayden fans that Whiteman and Salazar were positioned to represent the Tigers at state.
"There were a bunch of people here," Whiteman said. " It was cool."
Hayden will have a throwing contingent in Pueblo. Seniors Keenan Bruchez and Tyson Sweetser have qualified for state in the discus. On Saturday, Sweetser qualified in the shot put, finishing second with a throw of 46-3 1/2.
Sweetser also teamed up with Zathan Bark, Coy Letlow and Tyson Letlow to take second in the 400-meter relay in 46.16 seconds.
The top three finishers in each relay or individual event qualified for state.
Bruchez is headed to state in the 110-meter hurdles and the long jump, in addition to the discus.
Saturday was a relatively easy day for Bruchez compared to Friday.
On Friday, he was juggling the hurdle preliminary races, the long jump finals and the discus finals.
"It keeps me warm," he said about running between the three events. "It was like this last year."
On Saturday, he lined up for the 110-meter hurdles and easily placed in the top three, running a 15.56. West Grand's Chase Underbrink won in 15.26. He and Bruchez are two of the top hurdlers in Class 2A. They were the only two faster than 16 seconds Saturday.
--To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org