Oak Creek Soroco track and field coach David Bruner is understandably excited for Friday and Saturday's regional meet at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.
With five relay teams rated in the top five regionally, it's possible Bruner will take a busload of athletes to the state track meet May 18 and 19 in Pueblo.
"Our main goal is we want to run our best times at regionals," Bruner said. "We've trained well and worked hard. I'm expecting us to run our best times."
On the girls' side, Bruner said the 4x200, 4x400 and sprint medley relay teams have finished in the top three at nearly every meet. The boys 4x400 and 4x800 meter relays have been in the top five at most meets.
The top three finishers in each event at the regional meet advance to the state meet.
"The perfect scenario would be to get those three girls and two boys relay teams to state," Bruner said. "I think it's realistic. We just have to go down and perform."
In the open events, Soroco boasts several athletes who have finished near the top at virtually every meet.
Among them, Bruner said Traci Schlegel (300-meter hurdles), Sarajane Rossi (800-meter run), Emily Hallenbeck (triple jump), Johnny DeCosta (800-meter run) and Peter Daley (1,600-meter run) all have a legitimate shot of qualifying for state.
While Bruner's optimistic about the meet, the Rams don't travel to Grand Junction at full strength. Along with illnesses, Soroco is battling several injuries, including that of distance runner Amanda Wilson, who hurt her knee at the league meet last Saturday.
Still, Bruner said the conditions in Grand Junction should set up well for the Rams. The forecast calls for warm weather with only a small chance of precipitation, which should make the track softer and faster. Soroco also will have the advantage of competing at a lower elevation.
"I have high expectations for our kids," said Bruner, who will leave with the team today to get a workout in at Grand Valley High School. "I think we have the kids in the right mindset. We've had a great year and they're very deserving of going down there and running well."