RANGELY | All classifications were represented by student athletes from nearly every high school in the state during the Colorado State Track and Field Championships May 17-19 at JeffCo Stadium in Lakewood, Colo. The weekend saw everything from new state records to huge upsets and from perfect, sunny weather to thunderstorms and flooded venues. The Rangely Panthers saw no reason to fear the biggest stage given to them, cutting through the wind and splashing through the puddles for big performances.
Last Wednesday, the Rangely Jr./Sr. High School packed into the upper hallways and commons areas. The students formed a tunnel, cheering and reaching for high fives as Makenze Cochrane, RaeLynn Norman, Marshall Webber, Austin Ficken and Patrick Scoggins ran down the hallway as their names were announced as the 2018 state track and field team. The school proudly sent the team off after singing the school song, with high hopes in mind for Cochrane in the discus, Norman in the 3,200-meter run, Webber in the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, Ficken in the shot put and discus, and Scoggins in the 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and 800-meter dash.
After a nice dinner and good night’s rest in Denver, the Panthers set out for the first day of competition Thursday. Austin Ficken was the first Panther to showcase his talent, having a massive set of throws in the shot put. After making it into the finals, Ficken’s personal best (by nearly 2 feet) of 45 feet 11 inches, was enough for a strong third place medal and podium appearance. Marshall Webber took the track shortly after for the 110 high hurdles. Webber’s personal best of 17.22 seconds moved him up in the ranks for a 15th place finish. Patrick Scoggins was next up for the Panthers, running a 23.08 200 dash in the prelims, winning his heat and locking a spot in the finals. Scoggins retook the track later that evening for the last race of the day, again winning his heat and securing his No. 1 seed for the 400 dash with a comfortable 50.71 finish.
The team got up a little earlier Friday to be at the track in time for Ficken’s second event, the discus. Despite being the first event of the day, Ficken threw another personal record, letting the disc sail 139-10. Ficken stepped up big, snatching another third place medal and spot on the podium. RaeLynn Norman got her first taste of state track and field when she stepped on the track for the strenuous eight laps of the 3,200 run. Norman ran a strong 13:07.72, giving her a 12th place finish and experience to carry on as she enters the last year of her high school career. Marshall Webber ended his junior season with another stellar race in the 300 hurdles. While Webber didn’t quite manage to run his best time, his hard work all season long was enough for him to run 44.18 and finish 16th. Webber’s hurdling has really taken off this season, and his second state championship appearance will have him ready for a stellar senior year on the track. Patrick Scoggins was the last competitor for the Panthers, running the 800 early Friday afternoon and escaping the bad weather that moved in shortly after. Scoggins went out fast and ran a gutsy race, finishing the race second with a time of 1:55.50. Scoggins’ time was the seventh fastest time ran at state for any classification this year, earning him a new personal best. The Panthers packed up and spent the rest of the afternoon resting, recovering and having fun as the thunderstorms moved in and delayed the meet for teams still competing.
As Saturday rolled around, the Panthers woke up to a drizzle and gloomy skies. Again, the team was there first thing in the morning for the discus. This time it was Makenze Cochrane’s turn to rip through the ring. Since the rain shifted between a light mist and a true downpour, all field events were pushed back an hour in order for officials to try and find ways to keep the venues as dry and safe as possible. Right before officials decided that the puddle in the discus ring was just going to be a part of the throwers routine, Miekka Peck was given the opportunity to let a little light shine on that morning with her beautiful performance of the National Anthem. Cochrane then proceeded to exceed expectations and get into finals for the discus. Her throw of 103-8 was good enough for 10th place and was just shy of her personal best despite the bad conditions. Cochrane finished her season strong, and having had a taste of state track and field, will sure to be back for more as a senior next year.
Patrick Scoggins was the only other competitor on Saturday, having the 400 dash and 200 dash finals scheduled. Just before noon, Scoggins and the rest of 2A’s top 400 runners were called to the track. Despite a strong wind beginning to form and rain still coming down, Scoggins was set for his last 400 dash as a Panther. As the gun went off, Scoggins pushed from his blocks and charged through the first 200 meters, pushing the pace early. As the runners broke onto the final straight, Scoggins had the lead and with a strong final push, became the new Colorado 2A 400 dash state champion. Scoggins ran a 51.02, just more than a second ahead of the next finisher, to stand atop the podium with a gold medal. About an hour later, Scoggins was competing again in the 200 dash. However, the weekend and weather had started taking its toll, as Scoggins ran with heavy legs to a seventh place finish of 23.48.
The Rangely Panthers ended the weekend with new personal bests, a state champion, great experiences and a lot of fun. While summer will be welcomed by all, what the Panthers have been achieving on the track and field this spring will be missed. What the seniors brought to the table as athletes, students and leaders helped create one of the most successful track seasons in recent years for the Panthers, despite a shortage of athletes. Every senior who participated this year, Katelyn Brown, Cameron Filfred, Kaylee Mecham, Brennan Noyes and Miekka Peck, all helped to shape the future of Rangely track and field through their hard work and dedication. Austin Ficken, who finished his high school career with personal bests of 139-10 in the discus and 45-11 in the shot put, never finished lower than fifth all season, competed at the state meet twice, and earned two third place state finishes, will truly be missed as a leader for the throwers and friend of all. Patrick Scoggins, who finished his high school career with personal bests of 11.51 in the 100 dash, 22.88 in the 200 dash, 49.88 in the 400 dash, 1:55.50 in the 800 run, and 4:35.14 in the 1,600 run, was undefeated in the 400 dash this season, broke four school records, competed and medalled at the state championships all four years and ended his career as a state champion, has left a legacy on the track for future tracksters to chase. The coaches couldn’t be more proud of each and every student athlete who worked hard every day at practice to attain their many accomplishments.