Soroco’s Veilleux crushes mile, two-mile fields in Craig | SteamboatToday.com

Soroco’s Veilleux crushes mile, two-mile fields in Craig

Austin Colbert

— For the first time in a handful of weeks, the Soroco High School track and field team did not break any school records when it competed Friday at the Clint Wells Invitational in Craig.

In fact, nothing really stood out to Soroco coach David Bruner as being anything special. Even freshman Chloe Veilleux's dominance in the mile and two-mile races was nothing surprising.

"Ben (Kelley) and her, I don't run them much in the two mile during track, but I know they can do it. When they do it, they do it well," Bruner said. "We were only four seconds off the mile record, Chloe was, today in the conditions, so I'm pretty sure that record is going to fall this year."

Kelley, Soroco's star sophomore on the boys' side, and Veilleux have already established themselves as two of the top cross country runners in Class 2A, both finishing in the top 10 at state last fall. Kelley, who did not compete Friday due to an illness, entered the weekend leading 2A track in the 800-meter race.

Veilleux came into Friday's meet already holding qualifying times for state track in the 300-meter hurdles, 800-meter run and mile, as well as the girls' 1,600-meter relay team. Now, she can add the 3,200-meter race to the list after she won Friday's event with a time of 12 minutes, 51.99 seconds, almost 30 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Carly Robinson, of Basalt.

It was the first time Veilleux had run the 3,200 race this track season.

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"Eight laps around a track kind of make it seem longer. I would definitely prefer three miles on a trail in cross country," Veilleux said. "I'm glad I won. There wasn't a lot of competition, so at some point, I wasn't really going for time."

Veilleux's focus has been on the 800-meter race and mile this season, the two events she is likely to put most of her attention on when it comes to deciding what to run at state. Before she cruised to a win in the 3,200-meter race Friday, Veilleux also made easy work of her competition in the girls' 1,600, winning the mile race in 5:38.16; about 10 seconds better than her previous best this season.

She expected to have stiff competition from Steamboat Springs High School seniors Alexandra Tumminello and Kathleen O'Connell, the only runners with higher seed times than her own. However, Veilleux jumped out to an early lead and was never threatened.

Tumminello finished second in the race, more than 11 seconds behind Veilleux. O'Connell was fifth.

"I was surprised. I expected it to be a sprint at the end," Veilleux said. "I kind of expected Alex to come in at some point and then us to push it at the end together. But, I just kept the pace and stayed in front the whole way. It worked out."

Veilleux's impressive wins were part of another strong meet from the Soroco girls, who took second overall as a team with 95 points. Meet host Moffat County won both the boys and girls team titles.

Other notable finishes for the Rams include junior Cassie Constine winning the girls' triple jump (31 feet), sophomore Mattie Rossi taking second in the girls' 100-meter hurdles (17.06 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles (49.31 seconds), senior Briana Peterson taking second in the girls' shot put (32 feet, 4 inches) and senior Kali Constine taking fourth in the high jump (4-09).

The Soroco girls' 400, 800, and 1,600-meter relay teams all recorded top-four finishes.

"I know it's been nine years that it's happened with the girls, us finishing back-to-back second at meets. So I'm pretty pleased with that," Bruner said. "We had a good day again. And the weather conditions are not very good, so I'm pretty pleased with the way we ran in the weather."

Casey does it all for Steamboat girls

For the first three years of high school, Steamboat Springs senior Allison Casey spent the spring taking part in open gym for basketball. But, with her basketball career seemingly behind her, Casey decided to give track and field a shot this semester, and the results have been surprising.

"Basketball ended, and I wasn't really sure what to do with myself. So I thought track might be a good option," she said. "It's very different from basketball, but it's been great to do something different."

Casey still has some work to do if she intends to make the state track meet, but she certainly made things a bit easier by winning the girls' 400-meter race Friday with a time of 1:01.96, more than half a second better than her previous best.

The win was the first of her high school track career.

"We think she could be a decathlete," SSHS track coach Lisa Renee Tumminello said. "She is one of those absolute versatile athletes, who is good at almost everything she does."

Casey competes in a myriad of events, including the relays, and is within state qualification in the pole vault. She plans to attend University of Colorado, and Tumminello said they've been discussing Casey joining the Buffaloes' track team in college.

Steamboat junior Cruz Archuleta made it a clean sweep of the 400-meter race, winning the boys' event in 55.19 seconds. After Alexandra Tumminello's second-place finish in the girls' 1,600-meter race, it was freshman Kandice Kittinger's third-place finish in the 3,200-meter race that stood out.

The SSHS girls' 3,200-meter relay team of Tumminello, O'Connell, Casey and freshman Winter Boese crushed its old mark by nearly 16 seconds, taking second in Friday's race in 10:22.93.

Other top-five finishes included the girls' sprint medley (third, 2:06.85), Alexis Balgenorth fifth in the girls' high jump (4-09), the boys' 3,200-meter relay team second (9:14.60), Brendan Andrews fourth in the boys' 3,200-meter race (12:22.08) and Zach Gollnick fourth in the boys' 100-meter dash (12.10).

Hayden still eyeing state marks

The Hayden High School track team continues to hover just outside of state contention in many events after Friday's meet in Craig, but continued improvement shows the Tigers still have time to reach those marks.

"They know what they all have to do," Hayden coach Pat Moore said. "They are determined, and they are being smart in practice. They are working smart, and they are not overdoing it at this point in the season. It's just a matter of wanting it."

Among Friday's highlights was junior Darian Murphy winning the girls' long jump (14-1.5), freshman Allison Ingols taking second in the girls' triple jump (30-04), sophomore Kyra Bennett taking third in the girls' long jump (13-05), junior Tyler Hockaday taking fourth in the boys' triple jump (35-09), junior Jessica Hockett taking fifth in the girls' triple jump (26-9.5) and sophomore Alan Aguirre taking fifth in the boys' 100-meter dash (12.13).

"I thought it was his best race. It wasn't his best time, but it was straight into the wind," Moore said of Aguirre. "They handled it well. We have a tough team, which I love. I threw two kids in the 4×4 that weren't expecting it, and they just kind of went with it on a cold, windy day."

Freshman Makenna Knez was fourth in the girls' 3,200-meter race (13:27.39) and eighth in the 400-meter race. Freshman Faith Day was sixth in the girls' high jump (4-09), a new personal best, and the girls' 800-meter relay team took fifth.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert