Medal opportunities abound for Hayden, Soroco track at state

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2012 Rams track and field schedule

— Hayden High School has taken more athletes to the state track meet, but rare have been the years when the Tigers qualify the caliber of athletes they did this season.

Four Hayden track and field athletes will begin competition Thursday in the state track meet in Lakewood, joining a dozen Soroco athletes, and if all goes well, they could be rolling in medals when they come home.

“All four of our kids have a great chance of being up on the podium,” Hayden coach Richard Bush said.

Hayden’s optimism has to begin with senior Aubree Haskins. She’s the defending state champion in the shotput, and she enters this year’s meet with plenty of questions but still with some of the top marks of the season.

She has the third longest throw and is a little more than 6 inches off the state’s best. She hasn’t been consistent all season, struggling initially with a new style designed to boost her distances. She switched back to a more tried-and-true method midway through the season, however, and quickly recorded her best tosses.

“Last year, she got in there and had this amazing throw that went all the way out there,” Bush said. “Hopefully, that will happen again. She has her moments, and those moments are just great.”

The shotput begins at 2 p.m. Thursday. Haskins also is qualified in the discus, which is set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Hayden also will be represented by a trio of juniors with solid medal possibilities. Junior Jorge Valdez took to high jumping only after the start of the season. He enters ranked fifth in that event. Junior Savannah Williams has two years’ worth of state experience but is poised this year for her highest finishes. She’s ranked at seventh in the 3,200-meter run and 14th in the 1,600. Finally, Colton Jensen is deep down on the list of 110 hurdlers, in 16th, but he’s only raced once this season and could be an unexpected factor in the finals.

“Jorge hasn’t jumped except maybe a little in middle school, so he’s really pulled it together, which is awesome,” Bush said. “Savannah has been training a lot harder and running a lot faster than she has, plus the age is huge. She’s stronger this year.

“With Colton, this will only be his second meet, so if he could have been in all season, who knows how high he’d be. We knew he had it, but he hadn’t been able to go, so we’re thankful he made it.”

Those four Tigers will join a slew of Rams when competitions begin today.

AJ Anderson will compete individually in the pole vault and the high jump. Junior Nic Paxton overcame a frustrating season to make the field in the long jump, and both boys will join Carl Rossi and Micah Gibbons in the 3,200-meter relay.

All eight of the Soroco girls competing — Lauryn Bruggink, Jaelyn Whaley, Haley Johnston, Jessica Rossi, Josie Rossi, Micaela Meyer, Leah Walorski and Lindsay Miles — have spots in the team’s five girls relay events.

Meyer, meanwhile, also will compete in the 100 hurdles and long jump, both of which she’ll enter ranked in the top nine.

Lindsay Miles also will compete in the pole vault and Josie Rossi, the 3,200-meter run.

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

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