17 Cowboy tracksters headed to state track championship

MEEKER I The Cowboys qualified 17 athletes for the 2016 Colorado State Track and Field Championships, which start today at Jefferson County Stadium in Denver.

The girls’ team qualified five relay teams and the boys qualified two. Both Cowboy teams qualified several individuals.
Meeker junior Austin Russell will lead the boys’ team while his twin sister, Maddie, is the starter on three of the five relay teams for the girls. Austin Russell is on the 4×800-meter relay team with Marshal Pool, Josh Cochran and Tannen Kennedy and he is the starter on the 4×400-meter relay team with Cochran, Gavin Garr and Cole Brown.
Meeker head coach John Strate said the 4×400-meter relay team only ran twice and ran a season best 3:41 on Saturday in Cedaredge.
“It was an exciting race since everyone knew what was on the line,” Coach Strate said.
Russell, a distance specialist, also qualified in the 3,200, the 1,600 and the 800 meter runs and he has decided to sacrifice the 1,600-meter race since he can only enter four events at the “Big Show,” where all Colorado track and field athletes will compete.
“It will be fun to see what Austin can do at the state meet,” Coach Strate said. “He has been consistently taking time off the last three weeks.”
Brown will also compete in the long jump, and his junior classmate Caleb Bradford qualified in the shot put and discus throw.
Maddie Russell will start the 800 medley relay with Sierra Williams, Loran Casias and Maggie Phelan as well as the 4×100-meter relay team and the 4×200-meter relay team. Maddie Russell will hand off to Peyton Burke in the 4×100-meter relay, and Burke will hand off to Casias and Casias to Gracie Bradfield. Bradfield will also anchor the 4×200-meter, which Russell will start, then to Williams and Casias.
Bradfield is also on the 4×400-meter relay team with Julia Eskelson, Williams and Phelan, and Williams is on a fourth relay team, the 4×800 meters with Eskelson, Phelan and Avery Watt. Coach Strate said Watt is injured and will be replaced by Abby Rosendahl.
Phelan will also compete in the triple jump and Burke qualified in the 100-meter hurdles.
Coach Strate said Saturday was “a really strong day for the girl throwers.”
Freshman Megan Shelton is headed to the big show “after two huge performances in the both the shot and the disc,” Coach Strate said. “In the disc, she threw 108 feet, adding eight feet to her best throw of the season. It was great to see Megan step up when state qualifying was on the line.”
Shelton improved her shot put by two feet and freshman classmate Sydnie Main also threw her career bests in both events, qualifying for state in the discus but “barely missed qualifying” in the shot put.
“I’m really proud of how hard all the kids have worked to get to this point,” Coach Strate said. “It should be fun to see who steps up at the state meet.”