MEEKER I Boys and girls on the Meeker High School track teams competed in Coal Ridge last Friday then in Rangely the next day. The girls’ team placed second out of 17 teams in Coal Ridge, while the boys were fourth in a field of 19 teams.
Both Meeker teams won the team titles in Rangely—the girls won easily—but it came down to the finish line with the host team before the Cowboys won. Meeker pole vaulters will compete in Kremmling today and the rest of the team will travel to Craig for a meet Friday.
“They all did a fantastic job,” Meeker head coach John Strate said of his athletes’ performances last weekend. “We are looking to secure a few spots in the top 18 for state qualification, but most of our athletes are in great shape.”
The top 18 athletes in each event along with relay teams will qualify for the 2017 Colorado State Track and Field Championship, held in Denver next month.
Several Cowboys have already qualified, including one girls’ relay team, which currently has the fastest 2A time in Colorado.
Meeker’s 4×100 relay, consisting of Gracie Bradfield, Loran Casias, Madi Russell and Tori Lasker made one lap around the track in 51.63, which was 3/100ths of a second ahead of the host team, the Coal Ridge Titans. It also became the fastest 2A time in the state at this point of the season.
According to coach Strate, the girls opened the meet with “an exciting comeback win” in the 800-meter medley, also against the Titans. Their time of 1:54.72 ranks them third in the state, 2/100ths of a second behind Highland. Russell, Casias, Bradfield and senior Maggie Phelan make-up the medley team.
“Maggie ran an excellent 400 leg of the relay, edging out a tough Coal Ridge team in the last 50 meters,” Strate said.
Phelan also led the Meeker jumpers, winning the triple jump with a hop, skip and jump of 33 feet 3.25 inches and freshman Kirstin Brown finished second (31-10). Freshman classmate Karlee Nielsen placed eighth in the same event.
Senior Peyton Burke, who established a new school record in the pole vault, increased her record by seven inches (7-5), which placed her fifth and also puts her in state qualifying contention. Sophomore pole vaulter Kinzy Turner placed sixth after clearing 6-11.
Sophomore throwers Megan Shelton and Sydnie Main scored big points for their team, with Shelton winning the shot put in Coal Ridge and Main third in the discus and sixth in the shot put.
Freshman hurdler Julia Dinwiddie set a personal best in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 53.85, good enough for fifth place.
“Austin Russell also continues to run well and score points for the team,” Coach Strate said.
Russell won the 3,200-meter run “in dominant fashion,” completing the eight laps in 10:35. Russell was also on the 4×800 relay team, which finished third and included teammates Josh Cochran, Tannen Kennedy and Kale Burke.
Burke also scored team points with a seventh place finish in the 1,600-meter run and senior Caleb Bradford scored points with a third place finish in the discus and a fourth place finish in the shot put.
Bradford finished second in the shot and discus in Rangely but coach Strate said the “surprise” was Jake Shelton throwing a personal best (118-6) and finishing third in the discus.
Russell also finished second in the 800-meter run and after the race Meeker and Rangely were tied for the team lead.
“The Cowboys’ distance squad showed up for the 3,200-meter run to push us ahead in the overall team standings,” coach Strate said.
Meeker was led by junior Matthew Beck’s second place finish, Clay Anderson finished sixth and Ridge Williams made a “guest appearance” from the shot and discus ring to place eighth and give the Cowboys a slim lead.
Meeker’s 4×400 relay team, consisting of Brown, Kennedy, Cochran and Russell, won a tight race and sealed the team win.
While the boys barely won the team title in the field of eight teams, the Meeker girls’ team dominated the Rangely meet, scoring points in every event and outscoring the second place team by 90 points.
Phelan continued to have a big weekend (she was later crowned prom queen) with a personal best (15-5.5) in the long jump and a win in the 400-meter dash.
Bradfield won the 100-meter dash, Casias placed third, Russell was fifth and Sierra Williams took seventh.
Dinwiddie won the 100-meter hurdles and the 4×800 team of Briar Meszaros, Madison Kindler, Delenn Mobley and Nishiko Thelen started the meet with a first place finish.
“It was also good to see Julia Eskelson return from injury and win the 3,200-meter run,” coach Strate said.
“It was a great team effort and performance by the boys and girls, making it a lot of fun and a great atmosphere for both teams.”