Soroco High School junior Matt Watwood reacts after finding out his final throw in the discus was just five inches short of first place Friday at the state track meet in Lakewood. Watwood said he was pleased to place second.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Soroco High School junior Matt Watwood reacts after finding out his final throw in the discus was just five inches short of first place Friday at the state track meet in Lakewood. Watwood said he was pleased to place second.

Hayden, Soroco collect state medals; Salazar upset in shot put

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Results

2A Girls 800-meter relay finals

1. Akron, 1:48.23

2. Holyoke, 1:50.44

3. McClave, 1:51.29

4. Paonia, 1:51.95

5. Sanford, 1:52.01

6. Las Animas, 1:52.59

7. Soroco, Lauryn Bruggink, Ceanna Rossi, Traci Schlegel, Sarajane Rossi, 1:53.36

8. Merino, 1:53.48

9. North Park, 1:53.84

2A Girls shot put finals

1. Stacy Post, Wray, 39-7

2. Brittney Graham, Genoa-Hugo, 39-2.25

3. Holli Salazar, Hayden, 37-10.25

4. Chelsey Muth, Swink, 37-8.50

5. Christine Tompkins, Simla, 36-9.50

6. Lori Weirich, Eads, 34-11.50

7. Jordyn Rienks, Paonia, 33-10.50

8. Taylro Lobato, Center, 32-2.00

9. Eliza Poet, Burlington, 32-0.25

2A Boys 200-meter finals

1. Mike Carl, Miami-Yoder, 22.23

2. Tyler Thorne, Pike Peak, 22.49

3. Bruce Baxter, Briggsdale, 22.64

4. Luis Huerta, Wray, 22.90

5. Kyle Carper, Holyoke, 22.03

6. Jake Walker, Hayden, 23.05

7. Jarret Cure, Wray, 23.09

8. Adrian Penny, Paonia, 23.38

9. Cody Roberts, Hoehne, 23.45

2A Boys 800 relay finals

1. Wray, 1:30.86

2. Miami-Yoder, 1:31.60

3. Paonia, 1:33.46

4. Hayden, Billy Zehner, Braylin Wertenberger, Coy Letlow, Jake Walker, 1:34.32

5. Byers, 1:34.88

6. Springfield, 1:35.19

7. Merino, 1:36.47

2A Boys triple jump finals

1. Kyle Craper, Holyoke, 44-11.75

2. Reese Thompson, Holly, 43-8.50

3. Jordan VanVleet, Paonia, 43-0.00

4. Alex Estes, Soroco, 42-9.00

5. Max Fokken, Briggsdale, 41-10.25

6. Logan Foster, Hayden, 41-4.00

7. Nicholas Elstad, Deaf & Blind, 41-2.25

8. Kanden Brady, Rangely, 41-1.00

9. Morgan Biel, Sargent, 40-10.00

2A Boys discus finals

1. Stryker Lane, Norwood, 154-4

2. Matt Watwood, Soroco, 153-11

3. Garrett Smith, Eads, 137-02

4. Johnny Wix, Meeker, 136-00

5. Abel Velasquez, Ignacio, 128-11

6. Nolan Queen, Burlington, 126-00

7. Kyle Pollock, Wiggins, 121-00

8. Lance Pickett, Otis, 120-04

9. Ethan Hilferty, Limon, 119-10

— The day's results were written on faces across the state track meet at JeffCo stadium in Lakewood.

For most of the Hayden High School and Soroco High School athletes who took to the track on the second day of the three-day event, it was looks of relief and joy. Hayden senior Holli Salazar could only grimace after falling short in her effort to defend last year's state shot put championship, however. She finished third.

"The pressure built up a lot," Salazar said. "I don't know what happened. It was just a bad day."

Many others met another successful session with various faces of victory. Soroco junior Matt Watwood, for instance, rolled his eyes and threw his head back when he realized his best toss of the discus came five inches short of the state title. He brought his eyes and his focus back to Earth and with a brilliant smile and loud laugh celebrated second place. His toss of 153 feet, 11 inches was just short of Norwood senior Stryker Lane's.

"My last throw felt really good, and I watched it fly up all nice and high. Then I heard the distance, and I just started laughing," Watwood said. "I'm happy. I wanted to win, but second place in the state - that's awesome."

View from the medal stand

Hayden junior Jake Walker walked away from the finish line of the 200-meter dash with a Cheshire cat smile a few hours later after placing sixth. Walker thought he had blown his chance in the 200 the day before but was the last person to qualify for the nine-runner finals. He took advantage of the second life with a time of 23.05 seconds.

That grin replaced a look of wonderment he shared earlier in the day with Coy Letlow, Braylin Wertenberger and Billy Zehner.

The group finished fifth in the 800 relay, a race they ran Friday for the third time.

They ran it once a week ago to qualify for the state meet and Thursday to move on to the finals, where they blazed down the track to finish in 1:34.32.

"I'm barely even in good enough shape to run a 200," Wertenberger said, laughing and wheezing after the race.

Soroco's Alex Estes' face lit up during the triple jump finals. He flew past the school record with his second attempt. His mark of 42-9 was enough to earn him a fourth-place medal to go along with the second-place medal he picked up in Thursday's long jump. Hayden's Logan Foster, meanwhile, met the event's results with a quizzical look. He was sixth, with a leap of 41-4.

"I didn't think I'd ever get to the state meet, so a medal is great," the senior said. "But I know I could have jumped a foot farther. There's a little disappointment."

It was strictly a look of relief for Soroco's girls 800 relay team.

The Rams have excelled with their relay squads in recent years, picking up two state medals in that area last year. The 800 relay, however, has been snake bitten. The team was disqualified last year at state after it dropped the baton. It made everything right Friday. Sarajane Rossi, Ceanna Rossi, Traci Schlegel and Lauryn Bruggink ran to seventh place, finishing in 1:53.36.

Looking for answers

Salazar didn't turn the grimace immediately. She accepted her medal just as she did last year - without a hint of emotion on her face. A year made a world of difference, however.

"There was just so much pressure," a shell-shocked Salazar said. The Hayden senior was a big underdog entering last year's state meet but blew away her opponents.

Friday, it was Salazar who looked surprised to be in the thick of things. She entered the meet with a personal best nearly 17 inches better than anyone else in the field. She was laying down those kind of tosses in the warm ups, too. But when the competition started, a year's worth of expectations seemed to drag every throw into the sand.

"Everyone kept telling me, 'You'll be fine.' I had to get that into my head, and I didn't," she said. Salazar, who threw 41-7.75 inches at last year's state meet and 42-2.50 at her first meet this spring, didn't top 35 feet in her first three chances Friday. She was sixth going into the finals, where she managed to improve a little. Her best mark, at 37-10.75, wasn't enough.

Wray's Stacy Post threw 39-7.00 to win the event.

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