Craig Admittedly, Hayden High School freshman Maddison Kopsa was nervous participating in her first ever Clint Wells Invitational.
It was the largest meet in terms of schools and size she'd seen all year.
By about 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, however, those nerves had worn off.
Despite not jumping her personal best, Kopsa still finished the triple jump in fourth place, finishing just a foot behind the eventual winner and 2 feet away from pre-qualifying for state.
"Toward the end of the day, I calmed down," said Kopsa, whose season best jump of 32-4 1/4 is just 7 1/2 inches away from qualifying for state and 14 inches away from setting the school record. "It's good because league and regionals will be a lot bigger and this is just a taste."
Although Kopsa finished short of pre-qualifying for state, she helped pace the girls 4x800 meter relay team of Laura Zirkle, Ashlee Doolin and Callan Manzanares to a school record, trimming more than two seconds off the old record. The girls team also placed an impressive fifth out of 15 teams. All the teams that finished ahead of them were from a larger classification.
Emily Whiteman was the lone athlete from Hayden to pre-qualify for state Friday. Whiteman's throw of 35-3 1/4 passed the state qualifying line by just an 1 1/4 inch. Still Whiteman was thrilled with her performance.
"I wasn't expecting it because my first throw was short," said Whiteman, who qualified on the third of four throws. "I was pretty happy about it."
Fellow shot putter Holli Salazar was throwing past the pre-qualifying line in warm-ups, but finished just inches short of qualifying.
Hayden wrapped up a day that saw the Tigers post personal bests in numerous events. Along with the 4x800-meter relay and Whiteman's throw, Hayden also got personal bests from Zathan Bark in the 200-meter and 400-meter runs, Caitlyn Mahanna in the hurdles and freshman Ashlee Doolin in the high jump.
With the league meet Saturday in West Grand and the regional meet the following week in Grand Junction, Hayden coach Kevin Kleckler said he's confident where his team stands with two state qualifying meets remaining.
"Their performances in all the running events and all the field events were extraordinary (Friday)," Kleckler said. "That stems from beautiful weather and it being a fast track. That's usually a great combination."