MEEKER I “The regional meet could not have gone any better for us,” Meeker High School head track coach John Strate said of team members qualifying for the 2013 Colorado State Track and Field Championships, starting today at Jefferson County Stadium in Denver.
“Every individual and relay we thought had a chance of qualifying, headed into the regional meet, was able to make it,” he said.
Eight Cowboys qualified in individual events and five others will join them as members of relay teams.
Meeker will be led by senior Tala Atoafa, sophomore Sydney Hughes and freshman T.J. Shelton, who each qualified in four events.
“At the regional meet, our league competes against the San Juan League, so athletes can earn league and regional champion honors at the same meet,” Strate said.
Ataofa became a league and regional champion by winning the 110-meter hurdles and also qualified for the state meet in the triple jump and two relays (4×100 and 4×200).
Hughes was all-conference in the triple jump with a hop, skip and jump of 34 feet, a personal best by more than a foot. Hughes also qualified in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, with second-place finishes in each event, and he will be a member of the 4×100-meter relay.
Shelton was the fastest man in 2A, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes, earning league and regional champion honors. Shelton also anchored the 4×100 and 4×200 championship teams.
“The boys’ 4×100-meter relay ran a great race,” coach Strate said. “It was impressive when they were in first place before handing off to the anchor, TJ Shelton.”
Shelton and Atoafa are joined by Anthony Watt and Jeffery Wagner in the 4×100 and Shelton, Atoafo, Watt and Jake Phelan run on the 4-200 championship team.
“Jake Phelan had great meet,” Strate said. “He is finally starting to feel like himself again after a pretty severe hamstring injury.”
Phelan is also a member of the qualifying 4×800-meter relay team along with Watt, Aaron Cochran and Caleb Lange.
“They knew they had some work to do to qualify,” Strate said. “They went in needing to cut 20 seconds off their best time, and they cut 30 and easily made it into the top 18.”
Junior Aly Ridings earned a conference title by winning the 100-meter hurdles. Ridings is also a member of the state qualifying 4×100-meter relay.
“Sophomore Linda Olivas is closing out the season nicely,” Strate said. “A month ago, it was not clear if she was going to qualify in anything, and, since then, she has been shedding time in all of her events and is a three-event state qualifier.”
Olivas qualified in the 100-meter and 400-meter dashes and as a member of the 4×100-meter relay team, along with, Hughes, Ridings, and junior Taylor Ahrens.
Senior Bailey Atwood qualified in the shot put and discus throw. She was second in the shot and third in the discus and will be joined by junior Ohana Mataia, who qualified in the shot put.
Strate said Samantha Patterson was just “inches” short of qualifying in the shot put after a personal best by more than a foot by the first-year thrower.
Coach Strate was disappointed that senior Jordan Brown was edged out of qualifying in the final week in the high jump, an event she qualified for last year.
“The hard work these athletes have put in throughout the season is really starting to pay off as they seem to be peaking at the right time,” Strate said. “We had excellent quality points with four athletes earning all-conference honors by winning our league in their respective events, and we had a number of athletes score points for us but not qualify for the state meet.
“This meet is a great opportunity for our athletes because they get to compete against only 2A competition for the first time all season,” he said.
Complete results of the regional meet can be found at comilesplit.com.
The state meet starts today and runs through Saturday. A full time schedule and heat sheets can be found at chsaa.org under the “track” page.”