It was one of the gutsiest gambles that Durango High School track and field head coach Johnny Bertrand had pulled all season, but it came off in season-defining success on Saturday at the Ron Keller Invitational at DHS.
The Demons’ 4x400 relay team smashed its previous season best of 3:36.36, when they combined its best distance runners and its best sprinters, and ran a 3:28.43, the best time this year by more than eight seconds.
“It made my whole day and it’s not even close,” said senior sprinter Alex Hise, who was on the starting block. “At the start of the day, we weren’t originally supposed to run this group and were going to be split up, so to come together like this is awesome.”
The 4x400 team was comprised of Hise, distance runners Marcus Flint and Aidan Fitzgerald, and sprinter Maxton Warman.
“On a day like today where it’s a local meet, we can have as many entries as we want, so it’s fun to mix and match and have them compete against each other,” Bertrand said. “We were going to do a sprinter relay team and a distance relay team, which both would have posted very similar times, but because of some injuries, we decided to go with the fastest 4x4 we could put together. It was awesome to see, but I think they can build upon that. They hadn’t ran together in that quad all year, and they just clicked really well.”
It was one long red line after another, as both boys and girls teams had a number of winners on the day. The boys finished in first with 182 points, while the girls also took the title with 205 points.
Montezuma-Cortez was second in the boys standings with 101 points and Pagosa Springs rounded out the top-three teams with 71. Bayfield took sixth with 47 points and Ignacio was 10th with 19.5.
On the girls side, Cortez also took second with 129 points, Pagosa was third with 94. BHS was fifth with 58 and IHS was 10th with 23.
The boys 4x4 relay team wasn’t the only one who had a major success at DHS, but the girls did, as well. Anna Smagacz, Bekah Moenning, Emma Fitzgerald and Madeleine Burns also won the event in a 4:14.38. Cassandra Blau picked up a knock when she was running the 200-meter dash and Burns filled in at the anchor.
“We were really bummed that Cassandra wasn’t able to be part of it, but we also know that Madeleine always pulls through for our team and we threw her in there and she did her best, and all of us did, really,” said Moenning.
“We have a team that we trust, and if need be, we know if someone needs to step in, we’ll always have someone who will be willing to do that to help out the team, and I think that’s what you saw,” added Smagacz.
DHS had plenty of other winners, as Kayleigh Frazer won the 1,600 in 5:36.92, while Tea Forest won the 3,200 in 12:34.59. Danielle Lee won the pole vault with an 8-foot, 6-inch vault, and Sydney Flores finished in second in the discus throw and was third in the shot put.
For the Demon boys, Alex Hise won the 100 (11.49), 200 (23.39) and long jump (21-06). Aidan Fitzgerald won the 800 (1:56.61) and 1,600 (4:21.98). Teslin Stetcher won the 3,200 (10:51.41), Dylan Baken won the pole vault (12-06), and Martin Cuntz took second in the triple jump (44-00).
DHS will race at the Liberty Bell Invitational next weekend in Littleton.
Bayfield High SchoolNot to be outdone by the long red line, the Wolverines had plenty of successful events to celebrate.
BHS senior and Colorado State commit Jordan Lanning won two events on Saturday. She won the 100-hurdles when she ran a 15.16 and topped DHS’ Anna Pylar who was second, and the high jump with a 5-8. She took second in the 100-dash in 12.87, and was beaten by Avery Wright of M-CHS, who ran a 12.56. She also finished third in the 200-dash in 26.49, but was also beaten by the Wright sisters, as Avery ran a 25.99, and Aryelle ran a 26.15, respectively.
Olivia Keitz took eighth in the 200 (2:49.88), while Mikayla Barnes won the shot put (35-00) and discus throw (110-0.75).
Zeb Shields had a good afternoon for the Wolverine boys and finished in fifth in the 800 (2:07.93), and Dawson French took second in the pole vault (12-00).
David Hawkins starred again in the shot put and won with a throw of 51-07. Josh Kauffman took second in the discus throw (132-06).
The Wolverines will travel to Alamosa next Saturday for the High Altitude Challenge at Alamosa High School.
Ignacio High SchoolThe Bobcats put together another solid performances on Saturday. Lexy Young took fourth in the 100-dash (14.21), and was seventh in the 200 (28.86). Charlize Valdez was fourth in the 3,200 (13:37.01), and the 800 sprint medley also took second (2:04.07).
Jonas Nanaeto paced the IHS boys team in the 800 and took third (2:05.88), and was seventh in the 1,600 (4:48.87).
The Bobcats will head to the Aztec Invitational next Friday at Aztec High School.