Seasoned Moffat County tracksters aim for a memorable spring
With the weather warming up significantly, Moffat County High School Athletics are getting their blood pumping as they start running, jumping or throwing their best.
MCHS athletes recorded their first results of the season last week, and the numbers look promising for many Bulldogs.
Forward and upward
Senior Logan Hafey flashed off the starting blocks Friday in the 300-meter hurdles preliminary race at Grand Junction’s Warrior Wild West Invitational, clocking 39.87 seconds.
The weather certainly benefited the day – as the only runner to break 40 seconds – and the weekend as he won Saturday’s final at 40.61. But, in a broader sense, the preliminary result already prepares him for a probable state qualification.
Additionally, the 39.87 is just a tenth of a second off Hafey’s personal best from last season, a school best 39.77 that earned him a state championship in the 300 hurdles as a junior. .
“I wanted to hit as close to what I finished last year as possible,” he said. “I think I’m ranked second right now in the state. Last weekend there were some really good runners from Denver.
Hafey was also league champion in the 110 and 300 hurdles last year. Although he didn’t face the 110 at the Warrior Wild West, he placed third in the 100 (11.46) and led the boys’ 4×400 relay – in which the Bulldog boys also won the league honors last year – with Trace Frederickson, Jimi Jimenez and Ian Trevenen finishing seventh (3:47.3).
Junior Evan Atkin also won the league’s high jump and long run titles last season, although he did not compete this weekend as he recuperates from a football injury at autumn.
The MCHS track roster has several athletes sitting out in the spring with offseason injuries, but there’s still plenty of talent.
Trevenen and Hudson Jones tied for sixth in the weekend’s high jump, and he joined Boden Reidhead, Owen Gifford and Frderickson for fifth in the 4×800.
The MoCo girls set a strong tone in the preliminaries as seniors Emma Jones and Halle Hamilton led the field with times in the 200 and 400m, respectively. Hamilton was unable to make the final, but Jones took second place in the 200m, his preliminary time of 27.05 a personal best.
“It was a good start for everyone because good times motivate you to get even faster times,” Jones said. “With that start you feel confident, but then you don’t feel satisfied, so there are always ways to improve.”
Over that weekend, Jones also won silver in the five-foot high jump and anchored the 4×200 relay with Alexis Jones, Mikah Vasquez and Ruby Short, a group who finished second at 1:53.92.
In a weekend that included bronze in the 800 medley sprint (2:07.66), the MoCo girls made a big splash as they placed in every relay, including second place in the 4×800 (11:00 22.68) by Lizzy LeWarne, Teya Miller, Brook Meats Wheeler and Bree; Emma, Alexis, Vasquez and LeWarne third in the 4×400 (4:28.32); and Quincy Lowe, Sadie Dunckley, Mena Tucker and Caitlyn Adams sixth in the 4×100 (56.41).
LeWarne also placed fourth in the 300 hurdles and Dunckley took fifth in the 100 hurdles.
Last season, the MCHS girls achieved several highlights, including a new school record and later a state title in the 4×200, the second event championship for Hamilton and Emma Jones. The two also hit a school record 4×400 as a freshman.
Like most years, there will be a mix of riders as they seek to find the best combination.
“It’s definitely different this year because we have new stints, but everyone in training is pushing really hard and giving their all,” said Emma Jones. “It’s good to see because that effort will go into the competitions and that’s where the good results will come from.”
I just warmed up
The track program faced some limitations with the late winter weather, although nothing coaches Todd Trapp, Lance Scranton, Kip Hafey and David Pressgrove had seen in previous years.
Last year’s schedule was warm from the start, but it also extended into June, and the return to a true spring season is not lost on the athletes.
The Bulldogs had originally planned to hold a Front Range meet just before Spring Break for the weather to cancel the whole thing, but the extra practice time leading up to and including the holidays was beneficial ahead of their opener.
Emma said she and Hamilton are finding opportunities to run in a warmer climate.
“It kind of helped prepare us for the warmer weather in Junction,” she said.
MoCo athletes will be at Stocker Stadium at University Colorado Mesa week in and week out for most of the spring, though the schedule has some new features. The Bulldogs’ home game, the Clint Wells Invite, will be in Hayden and the league championships will be hosted by Rifle.
No matter where they compete, MCHS athletes will make the most of their time on the track, especially the seniors who are focused on making this season their best yet.
Logan Hafey will continue to compete in the sport at CMU after graduating, and he sees it as a way to set the stage for good at the college level.
“I want to have a good finish, but there’s still a lot to do in high school,” he said.