Lakewood There’s probably not anything in the water.
The Soroco High School track team has made its name in the region for years on the back of its relay squads, and this week those efforts are accounting for the vast majority of the team’s footprint at the Class 2A state track meet, which began Thursday and wraps up Saturday in Lakewood.
It’s no accident, though, and it’s probably not anything in the water.
Soroco sets out each spring to develop the legs of its relay races, and on Friday those efforts paid off in a state medal for four Rams.
Lauryn Bruggink, Hayley Johnson, Jaelyn Whaley and Micaela Meyer combined to place seventh in the 800-meter relay.
“I was definitely happy with how we performed,” Whaley said. “We could have had a little better time, but I was happy with the outcome.”
All four girls were signed up for other relays at state, and those assignments can make for a demanding weekend of performances.
Consider Whaley, a junior: she ran 100 meters in the 400 relay, 400 meters in the 1,600 relay and 800 meters in the 3,200 relay.
Bruggink’s workload is only moderately more condensed. She traded in a leg of the 3,200 relay for a 100-meter leg of the sprint medley relay.
That medley lost the baton and was disqualified Thursday. The 3,200 relay finished well back in the field Thursday, and on Friday, Soroco’s 400 relay and 1,600 relay teams narrowly missed advancing to Saturday’s finals.
It’s at the 800-meter relay distance, with each athlete running 200-meter legs, where it all seems to come together for Soroco. The Rams were seeded ninth entering the weekend, so they weren’t surprised to get a medal. Jumping up to seventh was sweet, however.
“It just seems like Soroco’s always been good at the 4 x 200,” Bruggink said. “We also placed seventh there my freshman year. We’re strongest there with all of our girls.”
The 800 relay actually made it four medals for Soroco this weekend. The Rams picked up No. 3 earlier in the day when junior AJ Anderson leapt to ninth place in the pole vault.
He easily cleared 10 feet, 6 inches but couldn’t make 11 feet despite several tries.
That didn’t ruin the experience for Anderson, who saw a piece of the state meet podium for the first time.
“I’m glad I was able to place,” Anderson said. “It was pretty exciting, and now I have a medal to take home and put on my letter jacket.”
Elsewhere, it was a day of “almosts.”
For instance, Hayden distance runner Savannah Williams almost climbed up to a medal in the 3,200-meter run. She finished 10th in the event, running in 12 minutes, 55.96 seconds, about eight seconds off the podium. West Grand freshman Tabor Scholl, a regular in the summer’s Steamboat Springs Running Series events, also had an “almost” in the event, finishing second by less than a second, in 11:20.71.
Soroco’s Josie Rossi was 17th in the race in 13:32.43.
Soroco’s Lindsay Miles, meanwhile, placed 19th in the pole vault, clearing 6-6.
The Rams’ two other relay teams came close but fell just short of Saturday’s finals. The 400 relay, with Bruggink, Whaley, Johnson and Meyer, was 10th, 0.10 seconds out of ninth. The 1,600 relay, with Bruggink, Whaley, Josie Rossi and Jessica Rossi, finished 12th in 4:21.44.
The action resumes Saturday, and while local teams are short on events — they’ll participate in only three — the possibilities are big, especially for Hayden.
Senior Aubree Haskins will close out her high school career in the discus, where she has a strong shot at medaling. Williams will do the same with similar chances in the 1,600 meters, while Jorge Valdez will finally take the field in the high jump, where he’s another Tiger with a good shot at a medal.
Anderson will finish off the competition for Soroco, also competing in the high jump.
“We are hoping for big things from all of them,” Hayden coach Richard Bush said.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com