Steamboat Springs The relay handoff in track and field can be a daunting task.
Runners have to take into consideration how fast the other person is coming and when to begin their own sprint. They must exhibit patience and leave neither too early nor too late.
But when perfected, the handoff can be a thing of beauty and the key to a winning time.
"When you're talking the 400- and 800-meter relays and sprint medley, the handoffs are super important," Soroco track and field coach David Bruner said. "You can lose two, three seconds to handoffs. Or gain that much. It's something we've been working on."
That's to put it lightly.
With weather playing a large role in Soroco's season, Bruner said the Rams' handoffs haven't been crisp.
That's why every day for the past three weeks, the Soroco track and field teams have focused a lot of their attention on handoffs.
With the regional meet today and Saturday in Grand Junction, Bruner said it might just be the handoffs that determine how many relay teams the Rams move onto state.
"It's a fine line for them to draw," Bruner said. "But once they're patient and once they hit and you get out of there quick, you have good handoffs. When you do, you run good times."
Handoffs will be especially pertinent for a Soroco girls team looking to qualify relay teams in the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relays as well the sprint medley.
"We want to get all the relays to state," Tatum Lombardi said. "I really think we can do it."
Although the 800-meter relay and sprint medley have some of the top times in the region, it's the 400-meter and 1,600-meter relays that should be interesting. The Rams haven't run the 400-meter relay in more than a month, and Lombardi is making her first appearance on the 1,600-meter relay in more than a month.
"The relays are what I'm most excited about," Sarajane Rossi said. "We're trying to win each race."
Bruner also said he's excited to see how the boys 1,600-meter run does, considering the team ran its best time of the year at last weekend's meet in Grand Junction.
Bruner said individually, Sarajane Rossi (400-meter dash), Traci Schlegel (300-meter hurdles), Cody Miles (long jump), Alex Estes (long jump), Dennis Morgan (discus and shot put) and Matt Watwood (discus) each have a chance to qualify for state.
"Personal records all around," Morgan said. "It will be tough to qualify in the shot. I'll have to throw the best I ever have. In the discus, if I throw like I've been throwing, I should be top three or prequalify."