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Practice makes perfect

Steamboat, Soroco use time wisely after meet was canceled because of weather

Due to less than ideal running conditions, the fastest times at Steamboat’s meet Wednesday might have been for post-event pizza.

A combination of snow, rain and cold temperatures prevented many runners from Steamboat, Soroco and North Park from posting great times or getting motivated to run — at least until it was announced that pizza was available after the meet.

But Rams coach Kate Hayne and Sailors coach Andy Reust were in agreement that simulating a meet is more beneficial than practice regardless of conditions, especially with the all-important regional meet less than two weeks away.

“Most kids did the events they will run,” Hayne said. “There weren’t any surprises. We survived the snow, but this is better than practice.”

Official results were not available and team points were not kept. But every event in a formal meet was held.

Many athletes ran more events than they might have in a regular meet, simulating a tough practice. For those who didn’t have to run that far, it was important to get on the track and practice hand-offs and form with competition in the next lane.

The same held true for athletes in the field events, though their earlier start time lent for better weather and better results.

Neither Hayne nor Reust put much stock in times or distances and heights recorded or cleared Wednesday. Many Steamboat athletes still are trying to find a rhythm after spring break last week.

“We’re going to be okay,” Reust said.

Several runners such as Steamboat’s Tyler O’Leary used Wednesday’s meet as a chance to take on an event for the first time. O’Leary entered the 3200 meter (2 mile) event for the first time this year, placing first, well ahead of the field.

“It went pretty well,” he said. “I like it.”

He also ran an 800 and the 1600, putting in some quality time on the track Wednesday.

The same held true for Lauren Lightfoot, also a distance runner for the Sailors.

She ran the 3200 and the second leg of Steamboat’s 3200-meter relay team.

The Sailors’ team of Katie Conrath, Lightfoot, Tara Wernig and Jennifer Hooper were not too far off the pace set by North Park’s boys team.

“We did work off them,” Lightfoot said. “Whatever the competition, we’ll run.”

Steamboat heads to Craig this weekend for the Clint Wells Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday at Moffat County High School. It is the final meet for the Sailors before the regional meet May 9-10 in Grand Junction.

A trip to state is on the line for those that have not already qualified.

Soroco will join Hayden at the Western Slope League meet in Kremmling on Saturday.

Under school rules, Hayne said, an athlete must place at the league meet or run a time earlier this season that would have placed at the league meet to earn the right to compete in the regional meet.

Soroco and Hayden also will compete in regionals May 9-10 in Grand Junction.

“It’s very exciting,” Hayne said. “For the first time ever we have the chance to be competitive as a team in the league. It will be harder with the three larger schools (Paonia, Meeker and Rangely) dropping down, but everyone’s ready.”