Spring was in the air on a sunny Saturday, and Montezuma County schools represented well on the track at the Ron Keller Invitational, hosted by Durango High School.
Durango won team titles on both the girls and boys side with 155 and 135 points in the 12-team field. The Montezuma-Cortez High School Panthers came in second-place at 127 points, and the Dolores Lady Bears were the runner-up with 117 points. The Dolores Bears finished seventh with 50 points, and the M-CHS Lady Panthers were sixth with 53 points. Mancos was sixth and 11th on the boys and girls side, and the Dove Creek teams came in 10th with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
In the girls relays, the Lady Bears dominated, winning three of the five events and placing second in one. The team of Lexi Atkinson, Cortney Brunner, Cassie Lard and Mindy McCracken won the 4 x 100; Atkinson, Lard, McCracken and Cydney McHenry won the 4 x 200; and Atkinson, Jaden Halsey, Brianna Schwartz and Brunner won the 800-sprint medley relay. Rachel Beverlin, Michelle Kline, Regan Umberger and Alex Willis took second in the 4 x 800.
Our relays are definitely strong. Last year, all the girls took all the relays and most of them were stacked with freshmen. We have a really good chance to take state this year, Atkinson said. We dont letup. Each practice, we have to start working harder and harder. We dont letup, because we know we want state.
Atkinson also won the 100-meter dash race in a time of 13.53, while teammates Lard and Brunner were third (13.82) and seventh (14.51).
Our relays were tough last year. Its a little bit different team this year, but well be tough again this year, Dolores coach Nick Kohler said. Thats a good group of girls, and theyre all strong at the 200 and the 100. We should just keep getting better every time we run. My No. 1 sprinter, Lexi, she ran a great 100.
McCracken was second in the 400-meter and long jump with finishes of 1:03.16 and 14-11. McHenry took second and fourth place in the 300- and 100-meter hurdles, finishing in 48.72 and 17.71. Lard was second in the triple jump (32-08.75) and third in the 100-meter (13.67). Kline and Beverlin each came in third in the 400-meter (1:05.08) and 800-meter run (2:34.59). Willis was third place in the 3,200-meter run in 13:55.31, and Schwartz placed fourth in the 300-hurdles at 53.56.
Alex Bernholtz led the Bears with two second-place finishes in the 110- and 300-hurdles with times of 16.57 and 42.14. Ryan Johnston placed second in the triple jump, leaping 37-06.25. Stephen OConnor-Seville was third and fifth place in the 100- and 200-meter at 12.20 and 24.36.
For the Panthers, Max Demby had a huge day winning the 100-meter (12.00), long jump (21-08.50), and was first place in the 4 x 100- and 200-meter relay teams with Ryan Haley, Brady Yates and William Wright. The quartet won each event in 44.41 and 1:32.44.
We started out pretty strong, but through practice and every meet, weve gotten better, Wright, a first-year senior, said about his relay team. Were mastering our handoffs and getting our steps down.
With the strong performances in relays this season, this Panthers team might run at the state level.
I believe we have a pretty good chance to do that. If we keep up how were doing right now, we have a really good shot at it, Wright said.
Wright was second and third place in the 100- and 200-meter events at 12.03 and 23.92. James Sprague finished second and fourth place in the 400- and 800-meter run in times of 53.95 and 2:10.94. Haley took home the triple jump with a leap of 38-03 and was fourth in the 100-meter (12.22). Corey Adams continued his strong season in the hurdles taking third in the 300 (43.11) and fourth in the 110 (17.08). Adams was third in the high and triple jump events at J5-08 and 37-01.75. Wiley Kirks finished fourth in the long jump (18-08).
As far as the workouts, were starting to get in mid-season. Were kind of getting over the early season cycle. Now were starting to focus on getting a little more speed, and you can see the strength paying off, M-CHS coach Bob Archibeque said. As we get to the late season, the speed should get even better. We got a great coaching staff. We got some knowledge on how to train kids. Youre only as strong as the people that are around you.
Laura Heaton led the Lady Panthers with the top toss in the shot put at 34-03. Teammate Maniesha Buck was fifth in the shot put and discus with throws of 29-09 and 91-02. Imari Black took second and fifth place in the 100- and 200-meter, recording finishes of 13.67 and 28.29. Abby Lock took sixth in the 3,200 with a time of 14.58.04.
The Mancos Lady Bluejays got a fourth-place discus throw from Lindzie Theurer at 91-07. Aimee Johnson finished seventh and eighth place in the high jump (J4-06) and 200-meter (29-49). Erica Blackburn was eighth in the 400-meter, crossing the finish line at 1:09.38.
Branson Mitchell and Cody Colyer got top finishes for the Bluejays in the 400-meter (53.08) and shot put (42-07.50). Cade Mitchells throw in the discus was good for fourth (113-09). Justin Burton finished fifth in the 3,200 at 12:14.38. Kyle Buchanan and Anthony Reiners were fifth and sixth in the 300-hurdles, recording times of 45.26 and 49.56. Emilio Marquez time of 2:15.64 was good for seventh in the 800.
Mancos was shorthanded with injury and player activities outside of track, but coach Alan Mathews was pleased with the effort his team put forth.
Were missing a handful of kids, but the kids that we brought, theyre doing really good, Mathews said. Were really excited about how our younger kids are doing. Our freshmen and sophomores are starting to make really good progress. For us, thats good to see. We got a lot of seniors.
The Dove Creek Lady Bulldogs got a seventh-place time of 18.69 from Shelbie Knuckles in the 100-hurdles and an eighth-place finish in the long jump from Cori Guynes (13-02.50).
Weve had kids that are dropping times. Almost everybody has improved their times and marks today. Im pretty pleased, Dove Creek coach Jason Fury said about his young squad. Our girls 4 x 800 team dropped 14 seconds compared to what they had Thursday (in Bayfield). All our kids are getting faster. Thats all Im asking of them.
Freshman Austin Beanland earned a first-place finish for the Bulldogs in the discus with his heave of 119-10.50. Its the first win of his young career and the first top finish for Dove Creek this season. Cole Baughman was seventh in the 110-hurdles, finishing in 19.72.
Dolores, Mancos and Dove Creek will be at a meet in Ignacio today before going to Bloomfield, N.M., on Saturday. M-CHS will be at the Fruita Monument High School Invitational on Friday.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at firstname.lastname@example.org