Grand Junction As the only guys throwing for the Soroco track and field team, Matt Watwood and Dennis Morgan have developed a peculiar competitive relationship.
"We're the only throwers, so we go back and forth - Dennis is always better than me in practice, but I do better in the meets," Watwood said.
Friday was no different for the tossing tandem at the Class 2A Regional Track and Field Championships in Grand Junction. In the boys discus finals, Watwood barely edged out Morgan with his third throw of 116 feet, 1 inch to take sixth. Morgan ended up seventh.
"Our coach (David Bruner) told us last night that you have to run, jump and throw harder than you ever have, because we've been working toward it all season and to lay it on the line," said Watwood, not the only freshman inspired by the message to earn top results.
Freshman Cody Miles posted his personal best long jump distance to earn a 13th-place finish, while teammate Alex Estes one-upped him in the event, finishing 10th.
"It's my first year here, so now I just want to improve," Miles said.
Sophomore Sarajane Rossi did exactly that. After finishing fourth last year, Rossi shaved five seconds off her personal best time in the 800 meters. Unfortunately, Rangely's Audrey Hogan pushed past Rossi on the last stretch of Friday's 800 to give her another fourth-place finish. Regardless, Rossi was pleased, "because (she) knows what (she's) gotta work on," and had already pre-qualified for the state meet, May 18 and 19, in Pueblo.
On the boy's side of the 800, Johnny DeCosta also just missed a top-three qualifying finish with his sixth-place effort.
Bruner was pleased with his team and looking forward to today's events, when Rossi and DeCosta should have podium impacts on their relay teams.
Perhaps the hardest-earned preliminary race of the day came form Traci Schlegel in the 300-meter hurdles. A West Grand opponent clipped one of Schlegel's final hurdles during what Bruner called, "the best run of her life," tripping up Schlegel as she hoped over it to a fifth-place finish to qualify her for today's finals.