Weather takes toll on Routt County track teams

Squads hope break in rain leads to better marks

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— The spring’s tumultuous weather has done more than make Routt County’s track athletes miserable — though it’s certainly done that. That was the case Monday as the Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Soroco high school track teams slugged through another cold and windy meet, this one the Clint Wells Invitational at Moffat County High School in Craig.

Local athletes fared well at the meet, postponed three days because of last week’s snowy, rainy deluge. But conditions were yet again not conducive to good times and distances, and as the end of the season looms near, many young runners, jumpers and throwers still are trying to get on track.

“We’re ready for some summer,” Hayden coach Barbara Manzanares said. “It just hasn’t worked out in our favor this year. We’ve certainly had better springs that cooperated with us better.”

All three teams are scheduled to be in action again this weekend. Hayden and Soroco will travel for the Class 2A Western Slope League track meet at 9 a.m. Saturday in Kremmling. Steamboat, meanwhile, will compete at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards.

A break in the weather doesn’t look like a sure thing for either location — both have a 30 percent chance for rain or snow Saturday — but a reprieve could be crucial for any athletes’ state meet ambitions.

Hayden and Soroco competitors have two ways into the state meet. They can reach preset qualification marks in their events or place in the top three at the May 13 and 14 regional track meet in Grand Junction. Steamboat athletes, meanwhile, need to log times or distances in the top 18 in state among Class 4A competitors.

All of those would be a lot more attainable with a nice, warm day on the track Satur­day.

It would give a few Tigers and Rams on the brink of pre-qualification marks a real opportunity to break through and the rest of the team an important run-through before next week’s all-important regional meet. Meanwhile, it would give a few Sailors a chance to punch into the top 18.

Steamboat has just two athletes in line to qualify for state. Gus Allen has the 17th-best 3,200-meter run time, and Jaime Winter is tied for 10th in the girls pole vault.

“It’s hard because for some of our kids, you tell them to work, work, work and their reward will be at the end. But what if those meets are horrible, and you can’t ever post a good time?” Steamboat coach Andy Reust said. “This is only our second year in this format, and we’re learning maybe you can’t just wait to peak until the last two weeks of the season.”

High finishes in Craig

Monday’s trip to Craig didn’t do much to help any of the teams, at least in terms of times and distances. Still, plenty of athletes recorded top finishes.

Matt Watwood paced Soroco with a first-place finish in the discus and a second-place showing in shot put. Cody Miles was third in the long and the triple jumps, and the 3,200-meter relay team of AJ Anderson, Michael Rossi, Ben Strait and David Strait placed third.

Lauryn Bruggink, Micaela Meyer, Ceanna Rossi and Carmen Matthews teamed up to place second in the 800-meter relay and third in the 400-meter relay, and Josie Rossi replaced Meyer for third-place finishes in the 1,600-meter relay and the sprint medley relay.

“It was a really good day,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “I’m really pleased with the way that stuff is coming along. Now we need to fine-tune some stuff, get some hand-offs better and do some block work.”

Savannah Williams, the Hay­den freshman on the cusp of pre-qualifying in the 3,200, fell short of that goal but still managed to win the event Monday. She also was fifth in the 1,600-meter run.

Delanie VeDepo placed seventh in the 800-meter run. Aubree Haskins was fifth in the triple jump and eighth in the shot and long jump. Brette Frentress was seventh in the 100-meter hurdles and eighth in the 300-meter hurdles. Amanda Warning also placed in the 100 hurdles, crossing in eighth.

Hayden Blake was fifth in the 110-meter hurdles for Hayden, sixth in the 300-meter hurdles and seventh in the 400-meter run. Brentt Gabel placed eighth in the 300 hurdles.

Chris Zirkle was second in the 1,600 run and, with Nick Williams, Casey Zabel and Gabel, fourth in the 3,200 relay.

Steamboat also got a top finish from its 3,200 relay team. Dylan Pivarnik, Allen, Jack Burger and Colton Lewer were second.

Pivarnik then joined Evan Hornstein, Lucas Stover and Jeff Sperry for a third-place finish in the 1,600 relay.

Burger was third in his first 800, and Kailee Duryea had a personal best in the 300 hurdles and placed third, and Matthia Duryea was third in the 400 run.

“It went fine,” Reust said. “No one was going to run really great times. I just told the kids, ‘We are going to do it as practice.’ That’s how we did it.”

Steamboat athletes have two chances left to creep into the top 18. The first comes this weekend at Battle Mountain, and the last will be May 14 and 15 at the Regional Showcase track meet in Grand Junction.

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