Hayden The Hayden High School track and field team returned from the league meet with three league championships and a whole lot of confidence heading into Friday and Saturday's regional meet in Grand Junction at Stocker Stadium.
Senior Emily Whiteman won the discus with her best throw of the year, Billy Zehner won the 110-meter hurdles and the boys 400-meter relay team won with a time that was 23/100 of a second off pre-qualifying for state.
As a team, the girls finished fourth and the boys finished fifth.
"It was an awesome meet," Hayden coach Kevin Kleckler said. "By no means do we feel we've peak in our season. But this week, we do need to peak so those kids can get to state."
Other Hayden athletes to place included: Maddison Kopsa (second in the triple jump, sixth in the long jump), Caitlyn Mahanna (third in the 100 hurdles), Bryanna McFadden (seventh in the 100 hurdles, sixth in the 300 hurdles), Kirsten Miller (eighth in the 100 hurdles), Rachael Koehler (sixth in the discus), Calla Manzanares (seventh in the 100-meter dash), Laura Zirkle (sixth in the mile and fourth in the two-mile), Whiteman (second in the shot put), Holli Salazar (third in the shot put), Tyra Monger (sixth in the shot put), Mackenzi Frick (eighth in the high jump), Jade Stees (eighth in the long jump), Coy Letlow (sixth in the 200, fourth in the 100), Zehner (third in the long jump, third in the triple jump), Zathan Bark (fourth in the 400), Jake Walker (fourth in the triple jump, second in the 100) and Murphy Smartt (seventh in the high jump).
The girls 3,200 relay team finished third while the boys 800 relay team came in second.
Kleckler said he was especially pleased with the performance of Walker, who as a freshman finished just right behind the 100-meter dash state champion from a year ago in Grand Valley's Sam McKinley.
"What a confidence booster for Jake," Kleckler said. "He was one step behind the defending state champion."
The Tigers would have finished higher in the team standings had they been at full strength, Kleckler said. Also, with the way the league meet sets up, it benefits teams with a large number of participants. At regionals, Kleckler said the difference is teams are scored more on how well they finish.
"I expect us to do quite well at regionals because we have some great quality," Kleckler said. "I'm optimistic we can take 10 or 15 kids to state. We're ready to go this weekend."
Regionals for Hayden, Soroco and Steamboat all begin Friday in Grand Junction.
- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229
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