Soroco jumper Alex Estes completes a run for the long jump while working out at the Steamboat Springs High School track Tuesday afternoon. Estes is one of nine athletes who will travel to Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood for the state meet. Estes will compete in the 1,600- and 800-meter relays, as well as the triple and long jumps.

Photo by John F. Russell

Soroco jumper Alex Estes completes a run for the long jump while working out at the Steamboat Springs High School track Tuesday afternoon. Estes is one of nine athletes who will travel to Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood for the state meet. Estes will compete in the 1,600- and 800-meter relays, as well as the triple and long jumps.

Local teams set sights on track and field glory

Hayden, Soroco, Steamboat athletes headed to Lakewood

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State qualifiers

- Hayden qualifiers, with seeding time or distance

Boys 100-meter dash

Jake Walker - 11.38

Boys 200-meter dash

Walker - 23.09

Boys 400-meter relay

Walker, Coy Letlow, Billy Zehner and Braylin Wertenberger - 1:35.90

Boys 800-meter relay

Walker, Letlow, Zehner and Wertenberger - 1:35.90

Boys high jump

Murphy Smartt - 6-6

Boys triple jump

Logan Foster - 42-2.5

Girls 3,200-meter relay

Calla Manzanares, Delanie Vedepo, Aspen Zabel and Krista Tomke - 11:00.69

Girls triple jump

Maddison Kopsa - 32-8

Girls shot put

Holli Salazar - 42-2.5

Girls discus

Salazar - 108-10

- Soroco qualifiers, with seeding time or distance

Boys 1,600-meter relay

David Strait, Cody Miles, Ryan Tibbetts and Alex Estes - 3:35.98

Boys 800-meter relay

Strait, Miles, Tibbetts and Estes - 1:37.47

Boys long jump

Estes - 20-3.75

Boys triple jump

Estes - 41-8

Boys shot put

Matt Watwood - 46-11

Boys discus

Watwood - 149-00

Girls 800-meter relay

Lauryn Bruggink, Sarajane Rossi, Traci Schlegel and Ceanna Rossi - 1:52.38

- Steamboat qualifier with seeding jump

Girls pole vault

Jaime Winter - 8-6

— Hayden High School track and field coach Barbara Manzanares doesn't hide her excitement when it comes to the state championships today, Friday and Saturday in Lakewood.

Along with doubling the number of participants from last year, Manzanares has four athletes who qualified in the top five in their respective events.

Logan Foster qualified at fifth in the triple jump, Jake Walker qualified at third in the 100-meter dash, Murphy Smartt placed second in the high jump, and Holli Salazar is the top shot put qualifier. All have a very good chance to medal.

"All of us coaches are excited to see them there," Manzanares said. "The kids set themselves up for good seedings. We're excited for the kids. It makes us feel really good."

Manzanares said the key for Hayden's team will be to remain calm on the biggest stages - something that shouldn't be a problem considering most of Hayden's athletes have been here before.

One concern is Walker, who is running on an injured knee. The junior has four prelim races today - the 100, 200, 100 relay and 200 relay.

"We'll just have to see with Jake," Manzanares said. "He's hanging in there doing well. Hopefully he can get through with that."

One athlete she won't have to worry about is Salazar. The defending shot put state champion is ranked first, and her throw of 42 feet, 2.5 inches is almost two feet better than her next competitor.

Hayden kicks off action today with prelim races in the boys 100 and 200, 400 and 800 relays and girls 3,200 relay.

Foster and Salazar compete Friday.

Soroco looks for medals

The Soroco High School track and field team will compete in six events, and coach David Bruner thinks the Rams can bring home six medals.

"We want to be in the top eight and get a medal," Bruner said. "Our No. 1 thing is to run our best races of the year. If we do that, we have a chance to medal in everything. Where we're at now, I think we can medal in all that stuff."

While having shots in the boys 800 and 1,600 relays and girls 800 relay, the Rams' best shots for top finishes will come from a pair of juniors. Alex Estes, ranked eighth in the long jump and ninth in the triple jump, and Matt Watwood, who is fifth in the shot put and second in the discus, each should have legitimate shots at top-three finishes.

Watwood's throw of 46-11 in the shot put at last weekend's regional meet helped set a new school record.

"Alex, in triple and long, is capable of jumping to get top three," Bruner said. "Matt's goal is to be in the top three, and with a good discus throw, you never know what might happen."

Watwood and Estes will compete today and Friday. The relays run preliminaries today and Friday with finals Friday and Saturday.

Winter looks to clear 9 feet

One year ago, when Steamboat Springs High School junior Jaime Winter first qualified for state in the pole vault, she was a wreck.

She was so nervous it almost seemed like she didn't want to go to the meet.

But now, Winter - Steamboat's lone qualifier - said the year of experience has completely changed her outlook.

"I know what I'm in for this year," Winter said. "Last year, I had no idea what I was going for. I didn't realize the level of competition. This year, I have a clue what I'm heading for. I'm not so nervous this year. I definitely have a chance to clear the opening height. Last year, I hadn't pole vaulted much."

Winter's personal best is 8-6. The opening height at state is 8 feet, and Winter said her goal is to clear 9 feet.

Despite a sore left knee that will require surgery after the season, Winter said she enters the meet with much more confidence than last year.

"Hopefully, I'll clear the opening height and maybe set a personal record," she said.

Winter jumps at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

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