Soroco freshman Josie Rossi takes the baton from teammate Micaela Meyer on Saturday at the Western Slope League track meet in Kremmling. The two freshman have been key in Soroco’s ability to maintain a strong girls relay presence.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Soroco freshman Josie Rossi takes the baton from teammate Micaela Meyer on Saturday at the Western Slope League track meet in Kremmling. The two freshman have been key in Soroco’s ability to maintain a strong girls relay presence.

Soroco, Hayden athletes have strong individual finishes at Kremmling event

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— The Soroco High School girls track team has made its name with its relays for the past several years, but entering the 2010 season, it seemed right to question the squad’s ability to keep up that dominance.

As it’s done all season, the squad showed Saturday at a meet in Kremmling that its relay roots run deep, and it won’t be slowed down by a silly ritual like graduation.

The Rams returned two of their stalwarts from last year’s stable of relay specialists, but a pair of freshmen have emerged to fill the gaps, and they helped the team cash in at the Western Slope League track meet at West Grand High School.

Junior Ceanna Rossi, sophomore Lauryn Bruggink and freshmen Josie Rossi and Mic­aela Meyer placed second in the girls 800-meter relay and the 1,600-meter relay. Carmen Mat­thews then stepped in for Josie Rossi for a first-place finish in the 400-meter relay.

Those finishes powered the girls team to a fifth-place finish in the meet. Soroco’s boys were third. Hayden’s girls placed seventh and its boys fifth. Paonia’s girls and boys teams finished first. 

“We were trying to PR and get good seeding for regionals,” Meyer said about the 1,600 relay. “We did that today by four seconds.”

Meyer has been a big part of Soroco’s sustained strength, stepping in to fill a role in each of the Rams’ relay teams. She shone by herself, too, placing second in the 300-meter hurdles.

She’ll enter the regional track meet, which starts Thursday in Grand Junction, with a good chance to advance to state in all four of her events.

That’s a lot for a high school freshman to consider.

“It would be a little freshman’s dream,” Meyer said. “This year has been a big step up from middle school track, but a lot more fun.”

Soroco had no shortage of top finishes at the meet Saturday.

Matt Watwood won the boys shot put and discus, setting himself up for a run at what could be two state championships in two weeks at the state track meet.

Alex Estes worked on his own championship chances by winning the boys 400 and the long jump.

The boys 800-meter relay team of Ben Strait, David Strait, Pie Lombardi and Michael Rossi placed fourth. Nic Paxton joined the Strait brothers and Rossi for a fifth-place finish in the 400 relay. AJ Anderson then took Paxton’s place for the 3,200 relay where the team placed second.

Cody Miles was second in the long jump, and Anderson was fifth in the high jump and sixth in the 1,600, ahead of Josh Baker in eighth. Baker also placed seventh in the pole vault. David Strait was fifth in the 400 and Paxton seventh. Paxton was eighth in the long jump, and Ben Strait was fourth in the 800. Lombardi finished seventh in the 300 hurdles and Gabe Achtner sixth in shot.

For the girls, Lindsay Miles was seventh in the long jump, and Jaelyn Whaley was seventh in the 100 and sixth in the 400, behind a third-place showing by Matthews. Josie Rossi was seventh in the high jump. Ceanna Rossi was third in the pole vault, Bruggink was sixth, and Lindsay Miles was eighth.

Walker leads Hayden

In a perfect world, Hayden senior sprinter Jake Walker would have nothing to worry about, his runs Saturday in the 100 and 200 dashes nothing but nice little tune-ups for the state meet, for which he’d already be pre-qualified.

It’s been anything but the perfect season for the Tigers’ top sprinter; however, and his victories in the 100 and 200 in Kremmling were sweet relief after he missed the last month of the season with an injury.

“It’s been a touchy situation,” he said. “I really have been wanting to get out and train and race, but I don’t want to strain my meniscus or my calf any more than they already are.”

Walker edged out victories in both of his races and said he was eager to run them again at regionals. There his focus will be in pulling out a premium 200 time. He pre-qualified in the 100 in his first meet of the season but hopes to make it to state in both events again this season.

“I’m at about 85 or 90 percent now,” he said. “Physically, this didn’t help me a lot, but mentally, it really helps to know I can still get out there and do it.”

Walker was one of two Hayden boys to score victories in two events Saturday. Chris Zirkle won the 1,600 and the 3,200 races.

He beat Paonia’s Trevor Walters in a sprint to the finish line in the 1,600 and then beat him out again in the 3,200. Walters made a move early in the race, surging in front of Zirkle and hanging there for most of a lap. He couldn’t gain any separation, however. The Hayden junior passed him back and slowly pulled away, finally winning by nearly 30 seconds.

Elsewhere, Hayden got top finishes from Rene Valdez, who was first in the high jump and, with Nick Williams, Treyben Letlow and Brentt Gabel, third in the 1,600 relay.

Freshman Savannah Williams was second in the 3,200 and third in the 1,600, junior Delanie VeDepo fifth in the 800 and Brette Frentress fourth in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Aubree Haskins was second in the triple jump and fifth in the shotput, Taylor Peterson was sixth in the high jump and Cassidy Wagner was eighth in the 300 hurdles.

Chris Miner was fourth in the boys discus, Kolton Miller was fifth in the shotput, Scott Armbruster was sixth in the long jump, Gabel was sixth in the 300 hurdles, and Nick Williams was eighth in that event.

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