Craig a final prep for Soroco runners

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— Soroco High School coach David Bruner said today's Clint Wells Invitational track and field meet in Craig is a last chance to refine techniques before things really start to count.

With the league meet scheduled for West Grand next weekend and the regional meet in Grand Junction slated for May 9, Bruner said today is the last time the Rams can afford to clean up their mistakes.

"I expect a lot out of them," Bruner said of his team. The meet begins at noon at Moffat County High School. "Our handoffs should be better, and we should cut time. Depending on the wind, I expect some pretty good times."

Handoffs on relays and starts out of the blocks should be significantly better this week, Bruner said. Last week in Rifle, the girls medley relay team dropped a baton, costing Soroco one of its potentially best times of the year.

With Steamboat Springs on spring break, Soroco has been able to get time at Gardner Field and work on the track.

That and the recent spurt of warm weather have Bruner excited about today's meet.

Currently, most of the relay teams and several individuals are ahead of last year's times.

And with experience in today's Clint Wells meet, Bruner said he expects the Rams to be peaking by the time they hit the league and regional competitions.

"Conditioning-wise we're in pretty good shape," he said. "Where we need to refine stuff is with the handoffs and getting out of the blocks. But being able to get to Steamboat helps so much."

Bruner said he's excited to see the girls 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams as well as the boys 1,600-meter relay teams, which will include Alex Estes and Cody Miles for the first time this year. Estes and Miles have been playing baseball at Steamboat.

Although today's meet probably won't be the best barometer to see where the Rams will fall in their region, Bruner said he's been keeping a close eye on times recorded by other teams in the state.

Today, Soroco should see regional rivals Hayden, Meeker, West Grand and possibly Paonia.

"The main thing (today) is to get warmed up properly. With a warm day like that, we aren't used to it," he said. "We have to focus on the task at hand and make sure we're ready."

Sailors squad

With Steamboat on spring break, Sailors throwing coach Mike Hill isn't sure what kind of team he'll have at Craig today.

Hill said he's had about seven athletes show up for practices this week but won't know until today who will go to the meet.

"It's pretty much up in the air," he said.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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