Soroco track athletes raising the bar

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Area schools state track and field qualifiers

Steamboat

Jaime Winter - Pole vault

Soroco

Alex Estes - long jump

Sarajane Rossi - 400-meter dash

Traci Schlegel - 300-meter hurdles

Girls 800-meter relay - Tatum Lombardi, Glenda Long, Traci Schlegel, Rossi

Girls 1,600-meter relay - Lombardi, Schlegel, Katie Grett, Rossi

Girls sprint medley relay - Lombardi, Long, Schlegel, Rossi

Hayden

Jake Walker - long jump, 100-meter dash

Holli Salazar - shot put

Girls 3,200-meter relay - Delanie Vedepo, Laura Zirkle, Krista Tomke, Calla Manzanares

— There was a distinctly different vibe to the Soroco High School track and field team at this year's regional tournament at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.

One year ago, the goal was simply to get into the top three and make state.

This year, a top three was nice, but a regional championship was the goal.

"I really like their attitudes," Soroco coach David Bruner said. "We lost the sprint medley right at the wire, and they were upset they got second. I talked to them about it and said, 'You guys did a great job and did well, but I like the attitude. You're not happy you got second.' So we got them going in the right direction."

The sprint medley of Tatum Lombardi, Glenda Long, Traci Schlegel and Sarajane Rossi was one of three relay teams that Soroco qualified for the state meet. Along with the sprint medley, the girls 800-meter team of Lombardi, Schlegel, Katie Grett and Rossi qualified, as did the 1,600-meter relay squad of Lombardi, Long, Schlegel and Rossi. The teams can now prepare for next weekend's state meet in Pueblo. The 400-meter relay team missed third place by just 1/100 of a second, finishing in 53.68 seconds.

The 1,600 relay set a new school record with a time of 4:16.35, and the sprint medley and 800-meter relays had their best times of the year.

Individually, Rossi finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:01.91, and Schlegel finished second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 50.61.

"Last year, our goal was just to get to state," said Schlegel, who will be competing in the hurdles at state for the first time. "This year, we wanted to win regionals. We definitely want to make it to finals in all our relays, and our 800 has a good shot at being up there near the top."

Another banner day for Holli Salazar

Hayden High School junior shot putter Holli Salazar added to her school record Saturday at the regional meet, setting a new regional record with a throw of 39 feet, 1 inch.

The regional record was previously held by Hayden's Lisa Turon.

Salazar, who already pre-qualified in the event, heads into the state meet as one of the favorites in the Class 2A shot put.

"I haven't looked at where she is," Hayden coach Barbara Manzanares said, "but I know she'll be somewhere near the top."

Hayden sophomore Jake Walker - who qualified in the long jump Friday - ran the fastest 100-meter dash of the day, at 11.75 seconds, to earn a berth into state.

Coy Letlow, who ran the 400-meter dash in 24.16, and the boys 400- and 800-meter relays just missed making state.

"I feel bad for our two relays because they were so close," Manzanares said. "I think it was a good weekend though. A lot of the kids set personal records. I feel good about it. The kids put their hearts into it."

Steamboat distance runners just miss

As strange as it sounds, it was the last little sprint that cost two Steamboat distance runners a chance to go to state.

Juniors Brittany Long and John Cutter were just barely out-sprinted to the finish line in their respective 3,200-meter runs, each finishing fourth and one spot out of a state berth.

Long finished in 12:34.59, just behind Cecilia Garcia of Battle Mountain. Long and Garcia traded positions for most of the race. Garcia passed Long right before the start of lap seven and held on for the win.

Cutter, whose time of 10:14.51 was a personal best by more than 30 seconds, finished less than a second behind Chris Hay from Battle Mountain.

"It's nice to think the three guys that finished in front of me are seniors," Cutter said. "Another year under my belt and we'll see what I can do. But, yeah, it's bittersweet."

The state track and field meets start Friday and continue through Saturday. Class 2A and 3A take place in Pueblo, while Class 4A and 5A meets are in Jefferson County.

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