Track season off and running for Routt County high schools | SteamboatToday.com

Track season off and running for Routt County high schools

Austin Colbert

— Steamboat Springs High School senior Kathleen O'Connell isn't ready to book her hotel reservations for the state meet quite yet. But, after missing out on the big dance in her first year on the Sailors track and field team last season, the start to 2016 was impressive enough for her to feel optimistic.

Last weekend in Rifle — the first meet of the season for Steamboat — O'Connell won the girls' 1,600-meter run with a time of five minutes, 38.17 seconds, just shy of her personal best.

"I wasn't expecting that, for sure. The girls in my heat were super fast," O'Connell said. "I definitely want to take time off. That's my main goal, and hopefully state comes with that."

The Sailors were supposed to compete in Broomfield on Saturday, but winter's last gasp this week will leave them to train at home after the meet was canceled. Regardless, Steamboat is feeling good about it's one meet so far, in which the runners really shone.

After O'Connell, freshman Winter Boese took seventh in the 1,600-meter race in 6:02.58. Kandice Kittinger and Isabelle Boniface were third and sixth, respectively, in the girls' 3,200-meter race. The girls' 1,600-meter relay was fourth, as was the girls' 3,200-meter relay.

On the boys' side, the 400-meter and 800-meter relay teams each took fifth.

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"It was crisp, clean exchanges. It was fast. We had good starts on both races," junior Ethan Labriola said about the boys' relay races. "It's a good sign. We've grown as a team."

The boys' relay teams — primarily led by Labriola, juniors Matthew Hansen and Cruz Archuleta, and senior Ricky Brown — have been together quite a while and think their chemistry should bode well this season.

Among the surprises at Rifle was sophomore Mitchell Klouw, who took sixth in the boys' triple jump with a distance of 37 feet, 4 inches. It was Klouw's first high school competition.

"My first few jumps weren't too good, and then, I ended up jumping farther than I thought I would," Klouw said. "When I found out I was sixth, I was, 'OK, this might be my thing.'"

Peter Myller was 10th in the boys' pole vault with a height of 9-00.

As a team, the SSHS boys took 17th, and the girls claimed ninth.

With Saturday's meet canceled, the Sailors next look to compete April 2 in Grand Junction.

"We were excited by the first meet," SSHS track coach Lisa Renee Tumminello said. "To show the fitness and to show some potential — and not only the relay teams, but in some of the individual events early in the season — that's exciting. Because we know we are heading in the right direction."

Rams, Tigers seasons start

Both the Soroco and Hayden High School track and field teams competed in Rifle alongside Steamboat to open the season. The Rams, led by sophomore Ben Kelley, saw plenty of success.

Kelley took first in the boys' 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:45.08 and was second in the 800-meter run in 2:04.74. Mattie Rossi was strong in the hurdles, finishing seventh in the girls' 100-meter hurdles and third in the 300-meter hurdles.

Soroco senior Briana Petersen was strong in the field events. She took third in the shot put with a distance of 30-06.25 and sixth in the discus with 84-07. Kali Constine tied for second in the high jump with a height of 4-10.

The Soroco girls' 800-meter sprint relay team took sixth.

For Hayden, leading the way was Makenna Knez, who took fourth in the girls' 3,200-meter run. Alan Aguirre was ninth in the boys' 200-meter dash in 25.33 seconds.

The Soroco girls finished eighth as a team, while the Hayden girls were 18th. The Soroco boys finished 14th. Both Soroco and Hayden are off this week.

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