Soroco state-bound | SteamboatToday.com

Soroco state-bound

Individuals, two relays qualify for competition

Melinda Mawdsley

— Toni Lombardi patiently waited for her turn.

As the fifth-fastest female member of Soroco’s track team, she earned a trip to the 2005 Class 2A State Track and Field Championships as an alternate, “which was great,” she said.

In the Dutch Clark Stadium stands, she watched Nichole Wilson, Melissa Roy, Karli Babcock and Kyla Schmidt win a state championship and place in two other relays in Pueblo.

Roy, Babcock and Wilson graduated. Enter Lombardi, now a junior, who said she was “aspiring” for something more than being a spectator at state.

She will get that chance in the 400-meter relay. On Friday, against larger 4A schools, the Rams won the event in 52.47, taking the lead on Glenda Long’s leg, extending it on Genessa Heide’s 100-meter run on the backstretch and holding off Moffat County with Lombardi and Kyla Schmidt’s runs. The time was good enough to qualify the quartet for state. The 2A qualifying standard was 52.50.

“I’m so excited,” Lombardi said about the team’s win at the 50th annual Clint Wells Invitational hosted by Moffat County High School.

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Soroco coach Gary Heide wore a smile, saying Soroco is committing to the event.

“It was awesome,” Long said. “We worked on handoffs for a good 15 minutes Wednesday and then again when we got to the track (Friday). We knew (Moffat County) would be our toughest competition.”

Long’s blistering first leg set the tone for the race. The muscle spasms that forced her to miss several weeks this season didn’t give her problems Friday.

“I had a massage right before we came,” she said.

Genessa Heide and Schmidt already had qualified in the 200 and 400 meters, respectively. Soroco’s Nick Rangel (discus) and Kieran Corrigan (1,600) also have qualifed. Corrigan added another individual event to his state slate, qualifying in the 800, running a 2:02.99.

Genessa Heide, Schmidt, Long and Sarajane Rossi just missed qualifying for state in the 1,600-meter relay, turning in a 4:20.89. The time broke the previous mark of 4:29.69. Coupled with the boys’ third-place finish in the 1,600-meter relay — which was good enough to qualify the relay for state — the Rams made quite a statement in the meet’s final event.

Corrigan, Kyle Hendrickson, Johnny DeCosta and Steve Meade ran a 3:37.65 to qualify. They needed a 3:39.41.

Too bad most of the teams and spectators left the track before the meet’s conclusion at 10:45 p.m.

The 19 teams and the meet’s start time of 3:30 p.m. forced Moffat County officials to turn the lights on above the football field to light the track. The sun set, giving way to sweatshirts, stocking hats and chattering teeth.

Corrigan, Hendrickson, De—-Costa and Jesus Garcia got things started quickly Friday, hoping to break the school record in the 3,200-meter relay. They finished in 8:47.17, but the school record is 8:42.3.

“That was quick,” Hendrickson said about the pace set by Moffat County and Battle Mountain. “We are pretty pleased. We’ll probably get the record next week.”

Soroco’s next meet is the Western Slope League meet May 6 in Kremmling.The girls have a chance to win the team title.

“(Gary Heide) tells us we are going to score points in all our events,” Lombardi said. “He puts us in events where he thinks we will do well. He’s really good at that.”