Karli Foreman smiled an oxygen-filled smile of joy and relief.
Then she hugged her Durango High School teammates, who mirrored and magnified her unbridled joy.
Madeigh Winsor, Dominique Ward, Karli Foreman and Shannon Maloney of Durango High School had multiple reasons to celebrate after finishing second in the girls 4x800 relay Thursday at the CHSAA Class 4A Track and Field State Championships.
The Demons, in a dramatic, action-packed relay, shared in a silver-medal performance with the ultimate effort in teamwork. Each runner, including Winsor on the leadoff leg, passed other runners during their time on the track at Jeffco Stadium.
I was really scared, said a smiling Winsor, who started on the inside lane in the staggered field. I knew I had to get out fast or else I was going to get boxed in.
She said she tried to heed the advice of head coach Mark Dutro.
Dutro told me to be scappy, said Winsor, who bumped elbows and shoulders as she pushed past two runners on the second of her two laps.
Winsor, daughter of Kin and Sean Winsor, handed the baton to Ward with the Demons in seventh place in the big 18-team field.
Ward, daughter of Nicolette Garcia and Niles Ward, promptly chased down two runners during her stint on the all-weather track.
I felt pretty good, said Ward, smiling. I just tried to remember my form and keep up with everyone.
She handed to Foreman, whose relay leg brought the Durango fans to their feet at Jeffco Stadium. The Durango senior and four-time state qualifier passed two girls before handing the baton to freshman Shannon Maloney for the anchor leg.
I was just trying to breathe, Foreman said as her three teammates all shared a laugh and another smile.
After last time, I was just trying to breathe, she said, recalling the Southwestern League Championships in Cortez last weekend when she staggered across the finish line in the 800 meters deep in oxygen debt from not breathing.
I kept hearing Thy (assistant coach Steve Thyfault) telling me to breathe, said Foreman, daughter of Ken and Val Foreman.
Maloney, who broke the Durango High School record in the 400 meters last weekend, wasnt about to lose ground on the final leg of the relay.
The DHS freshman, daughter of Melissa and Murdoch Maloney, reeled in the anchor runner from Evergreen and raced home to give the Demons a collective silver medal.
I really wanted to get that girl to get second (place), said Maloney, who finished as part of a runner-up team in her first state race.
Thompson Valley won the race in 9 minutes, 20.69 seconds. Durango was second in 9:27.58, ahead of 16 other teams in Class 4A.
Yes, this was a good day, said Foreman, with (guess what?) a big smile.
Fellow senior and four-time state qualifier Jared Blake, however, was less inclined to smile after Thursdays prelims in the 110-meter high hurdles.
Blake, who finished second in the state meet last year in the high hurdles, struggled in his first pass through the hurdles Thursday.
But he still managed to qualify for the finals in spite of bashing a handful of hurdles en route to the finish line.
I hit too many hurdles, Blake said after his time of 15.12 was good for the ninth and final qualifying spot.
That wasnt good at all ... not at all.
Blake said his timing was off early in the race.
I ... floated over a hurdle. Then, I clipped one ... really hard, said Blake, who had to charge over the last two hurdles to earn a spot in Saturdays finals.
Blake will race in the 300-meter intermediate hurdle prelims today. Hes also scheduled to run in the 4x400 relay prelims today with his DHS teammates.
Durangos Austin Miles, a junior, also competed Thursday on the first day of the three-day CHSAA Track and Field State Championshhips. Miles threw 46 feet, 10 inches in the Class 4A shot. He finished 14th. Richard Feltenberger of Skyline won at 54-7.5.
DHS senior Mackenzie Sill finished tied for 13th in the high jump (4-10).
The Demons will be back on track today.