State track picture comes into focus for Routt teams

Local schools stock field with more than 2 dozen athletes

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— It’s going to be a busy weekend in Lakewood for local high school track and field athletes.

Area high schools qualified more than two dozen runners, jumpers and throwers to the sport’s massive season-ending event, which begins Thursday at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.

“This year, we have the most we’ve ever had in,” Soroco High School coach David Bruner said. “That’s pretty exciting.”

Colorado’s Class 2A, for the first time this year, qualified athletes to the state meet by selecting the owners of the top 18 marks in each event, the way Class 4A has for several years. For Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Soroco athletes, that made for a tense Saturday evening and, for the most part, an exciting Sunday morning as times and marks from across the state were reported.

For the Rams, there was a lot to be excited about. Soroco will take 15 competing athletes and two relay alternates to the state meet. The team only had 21 members this season. They will compete in 13 of the 19 events.

“It’s been a rough spring. The weather hasn’t cooperated well, but I’m pleased with how these kids finished,” Bruner said. “The kids put in a lot of hard work.”

Micaela Meyer will compete in the 100-meter and 300 hurdles, Josie Rossi in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs, David Strait in the 300 hurdles and high jump, Nic Paxton in the long jump and triple jump, AJ Anderson and Peyton Martindale in the pole vault and Ben Strait in the shot put.

Lauryn Bruggink, Ceanna Rossi, Jaelyn Whaley, Carmen Mathews, Lindsay Miles, Pie Lombardi, Jacob Hange and Josh Baker will join those athletes in eight relays.

Soroco might have the most athletes and events, but Hayden High School might have the best chance to bring home an individual state champion.

Tigers senior Chris Zirkle is ranked second in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs. Hayden’s Aubree Haskins, meanwhile, enters the meet third in the shot put. Brandon Ray and Dakota Zehner also qualified in the high jump, Savannah Williams in the 3,200-meter run and Hayden Blake in the 110 and 300 hurdles.

Zehner, Blake, Zirkle and Brentt Gabel will also compete in the 1,600-meter relay.

“They did great,” Hayden coach Richard Bush said. “We have nine kids that get to go, and that’s pretty good. It’s a long road to stay up in that top 18 and not get bumped out. They were great.”

Steamboat Springs High School was left with one athlete in the Class 4A state ranks, though that one event could be one of the most thrilling. Jeff Sperry finished the season as the No. 10-ranked 800-meter runner. His season-best time of 1 minute, 58.27 seconds is nearly six seconds off the best in the class: Boris Berian, of Widefield, who registered a 1:52.77.

Sperry sits only 1.05 seconds out of fourth place, however.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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