Soroco runners eye title in relays

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— Even Soroco's Sarajane Rossi feels it.

The Rams junior has been to the state track and field meet all three years of her high school career.

Yet, when she talks about today and Saturday's Class 2A meet in Pueblo, she stresses this year is different.

"I think in the top five in all of our events is kind of my goal," Rossi said. "I think we can be up there in the medley and in the others competing for a state championship."

That's a little different attitude from a Soroco High School track and field team that was just happy to make the state track meet last year.

But with two relays ranked in the top four and every other relay or individual among the top eight, expectations are high in South Routt.

"All the girls, all the kids know I have high expectations for them since the first day I came here," Rams coach David Bruner said. "They set themselves up and have the opportunity to do well at the state track meet. Last year we were just doing well to get into the finals. Now they know what to expect. We want top five in all the relays. In the (800-meter relay), we're going to be right there. In the (1,600-meter relay), if we run our best, we'll be right there."

The girls 800-meter relay team of Tatum Lombardi, Glenda Long, Traci Schlegel and Rossi ranks third in the class going into the state meet. The girls 1,600-meter relay team of Lombardi, Schlegel, Katie Grett and Rossi ranks fourth, and the girls sprint-medley relay of Lombardi, Long, Schlegel and Rossi ranks seventh.

Sophomore Alex Estes heads into the long jump ranked fourth, Rossi ranks eighth in the 400-meter dash, and Schlegel is ranked fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.

Although the Rams have the chance to advance all the relays and individuals into the finals, Bruner said it's the 800 and 1,600 relays that could get interesting.

Soroco is within distance of all the teams ranked ahead of it, making a state championship possible.

"It'll just come down to our focus," Lombardi said. "I think last year we were a little too nervous. This year we have to focus on the race instead of being nervous."

Of course, Bruner said, nothing is certain at the state championships. Case in point was last year's girls 800-relay team. The Rams entered the competition ranked fourth and didn't qualify for the finals.

"Anything can happen," Schlegel said. "Especially at state. But I don't think we've ran our best time yet. Hopefully we'll run our best on a warm track," today and Saturday.

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