Hayden senior Jorge Valdez catches the high jump bar with his leg Saturday at the state track meet in Lakewood. He finished fifth in the event.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden senior Jorge Valdez catches the high jump bar with his leg Saturday at the state track meet in Lakewood. He finished fifth in the event.

Hayden's Valdez 5th by a foot in high jump at state track

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Hayden's Savannah Williams competes Saturday in the 1,600-meter run at the state track meet in Lakewood.

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West Grand's Tabor Scholl leads the pack on the last lap of the girls 1,600-meter run Saturday at the state track meet in Lakewood. Scholl might be familiar to Steamboat residents because her family frequently competes in Steamboat Springs Running Series races.

— On four of his previous five attempts in the Class 2A high jump competition at the state track meet in Lakewood, Hayden senior Jorge Valdez had pushed the bar off with his hips, and on that fifth attempt, he’d brushed the bar, coming so close to being eliminated that he looked back and smiled as the bar bounced but held.

On the sixth attempt, his third and final try at 6-foot-4, Valdez and his hips cleared the bar without question, gliding over with an inch or two to spare.

“But,” he said a few minutes later, “I forgot about my legs.

“Sometimes, when you’re really focused on one part of the jump, you don’t focus as much on the other parts.”

That lapse on the feet cost Valdez the chance he’d been hoping for all season, a chance at the state championship. It eliminated him in fifth place.

“I felt good. It just wasn’t there,” Valdez said. “It’s disappointing, but I’ll take it. It was a fun weekend, a fun season."

It was that kind of day, and really that kind of weekend, for the Hayden High School track team at the state meet at JeffCo Stadium.

The young squad advanced only three athletes to the meet, but it had high hopes of a medal haul considering the competitors' relative experience.

Senior Savannah Williams also competed Saturday, wrapping up a strong career that included a trip to state in each of her four seasons. She never was able to break through at the big meet, and on Saturday, she fell short again, this time in the 1,600-meter run.

She drifted near the back of the pack early in the race but charged late to finish 12th in 5 minutes, 47.26 seconds.

One local highlight came from West Grand sophomore Tabor Scholl. Plenty familiar to Steamboat residents for the dominance her family frequently brings over Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat Springs Running Series races, she dished out some of that in Lakewood. She won the 1,600 in 5:06.01, bouncing back after a disappointing sixth-place finish in the 3,200 on Friday.

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

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