The Demons finished what they started at the Southwestern League Track and Field Championships on Saturday.
But they needed crucial points in the final relays of the meet to come from behind and close the deal.
The DHS boys track team won the Southwestern League title, nipping Fruita Monument 159-158 on a sunny Saturday at DHS Stadium.
The DHS girls, with a dramatic victory in the final 4x400 relay, pulled into a tie with Fruita Monument, sharing the 2010 SWL crown with the Wildcats (146-146).
"That was exciting ... I told you it was going to be exciting," DHS head coach Mark Dutro said to a small crowd gathered at the finish tent after Saturday's meet.
"That was a lot of fun. It got a little scary there for awhile," Dutro said after the Demons successfully defended their SWL titles from 2009.
The title nearly slipped away from the DHS girls until Tasha Fitts, Miranda LaShell, Lindsey Jankowski and Morgen Dorsey raced away to a crowd-pleasing victory in the 4x400 (4:09.66).
Similarly, the DHS boys needed to beat Fruita Monument in the 4x400 to take the team title over the Wildcats.
They got the points they needed when Jordy King, Jared Blake, Kaelen Waters and Gus Barnes pulled together for a strong second-place finish behind Grand Junction.
Barnes' closing 400 meters, in a stunning 49-second relay split, helped push the Demons to the title on a day the relays ruled for DHS.
"The 4x100 (team) improved (Saturday)," Dutro said of the DHS boys victory in 43.44 seconds. "And our 4x200 improved, too. We had good handoffs (Saturday). That's the best handoffs we've had all season," Dutro said.
Example: In the 4x200 relay, the Demons took the lead on a flawless, high-speed exchange between King and Waters (the second and third legs).
Barnes, with the lead on the anchor leg, crossed the finish in 1:30.14, a time that could earn the Demons a berth in the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships next weekend in Lakewood.
"We practiced all week with that (handoff)," King said after the 4x200 victory, "and we came through (Saturday)."
AJ Anderson started the relay, handing to King in another rapid-fire exchange.
"We needed our starter (Anderson) to come in real hot," Barnes said. "And he did ... he came in in a time we needed."
"That was big for us," King said. "Hopefully, that will get us to state."
They'll find out today along with the rest of the Class 5A and 4A tracksters.
The final qualifiers for state will be determined today when the rankings are released, listing the top 18 athletes in each event.
The DHS boys 4x200 team should be in the state mix along with the 4x100 foursome of the same sprinters: Anderson, King, Waters and Barnes.
Barnes, too, will be an individual qualifier after he won the 200 Saturday in 22.13, just .01 off the DHS school record.
He ran an explosive curve and powered down the home stretch in front of the grandstands.
"I came right around on the inside of the lane," Barnes said. "Then, I just relaxed through here," he said, motioning to the final 30 meters.
"I'm happy with it. Hopefully, it will get me to state," Barnes said.
Teammate Blake became a multiple winner for the Demons at the SWL meet when he won the 110-meter high hurdles Saturday in a photo finish over Scott Davison of Central. Both were timed in 15.49.
Durango's Dakota Sutherlin, a sophomore like Blake, finished fourth in the 110 hurdles.
Blake, who won the pole vault Friday, finished a close second to Davison in the 300 hurdles (40:91 to 40:95). Sutherlin was next, finishing third for the Demons.
"He (Davison) had a really good start (in the 110 hurdles)," Blake said. "But I caught him at the last hurdle."
The DHS boys also netted key points from freshman Joe Maloney and senior Logan Winborn in the 1,600. They finished second and third, respectively, behind Montrose standout Eric Shellhorn, who won in 4:28.18. Shellhorn also won the 800 on Saturday in 1:59.80.
Maloney won the 3,200 title Friday.
While many state qualifiers are in question heading into today, that's not a dilemma facing Fitts, the DHS long jumper who will return to the State Championships.
She jumped 17-1 to win the SWL title Saturday.
Just a week ago, Fitts jumped a school record 17-11½ at the Tiger Invitational in Grand Junction - a jump that put Fitts among the top three jumpers in the state this year.
"I'm happy," Fitts said after Saturday's long jump victory.
"I jumped really well last weekend," she said, recalling her school-record jump.
"I wasn't jumping very well," she said. And she trailed, for one of the first times all season.
"It was my last jump. I was kind of pissed. It was ... all or nothing." Fitts said.
"It was more than anything I could have ever expected," she said after smashing the DHS record by 8 inches.
"I was stoked," Fitts said. "But next week is the one that counts."
Fitts finished third in the State Championships last year.
Jankowski, Fitts' relay teammate, added a runner-up finish for the Demons in the 100-meter hurdles Saturday. (16.62). She won the pole vault Friday.
Durango distance runner Karli Foreman, a sophomore, used a late kick to finish second in the 1,600 (5:38.41). She also was third in the 800 (2:33.70).
Lindsay Chamblee, like Fitts, will return to state in the shot and the discus. The DHS senior, who won Friday's SWL shot put title, finished third in Saturday's discus (107-10).
Throws earlier this season should send Chamblee back to Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, where the all-classification State Track and Field Championships open Thursday.