OURAY – The Ouray track and field team, incorporating athletes from Ridgway, Silverton and Lake City schools, went on a tear of personal and school records last weekend at the Cowboy Invitational in Gunnison.
On Saturday, no fewer than nine Trojans set new personal bests, and two school records fell on a day when athletes had to dodge snow flurries as well as the limits of their growing skill sets.
One school record fell to Ouray senior Geordyn MacDougall, who trimmed more than a second from her PR (set earlier this season) with a time of 50.38 seconds in the 300 m hurdles. MacDougall placed third in Gunnison.
The other school record was broken by the boys’ 4x400 relay team of Eli Holmes, Chris Cramp, Kyle Cotton and Jaxon Gaita. They finished third as well in a time of 3:40.79, three -and-a-half seconds better than the old record set at Regionals in 2009.
Ouray senior Kaleb Sackman led the boys’ team to a ninth place overall, taking first place in his specialty, the triple jump, with a leap of 42’ 10.5”, which is another PR for Sackman. Coach Bernie Pearce was proud of the team finish at a meet with 19 competing schools, many of them much bigger than Ouray: “Anytime you finish in the top 10 when the big fish are there, the pond looks pretty inviting!”
Eli Holmes also garnered a first-place medal with his personal record time of 53.18 seconds in the 400 m dash.
Sackman added to his haul with a second-place finish (and another PR) in the long jump, soaring 11.5 inches further than his previous best with a leap of 20’ 0.5”.
The girls’ team ended the day in 17th place led by MacDougall’s third in the 300 m hurdles and her strong fourth place in the 100 m hurdles, where she clocked 17.42 seconds.
Other Trojans with personal records at the Cowboy Invitational included Wheeler Juell, with a triple jump of 36’ 9.5”, more than two feet longer than his old PR.
Sarah Stovicek exceeded her PR in two events, the shot put and the discus.
Hunter Thomas also set two personal bests, in the 100 m dash and the shot put.
Personal records were also set by Sydnee Kimmel, Jocob Fedel and Noah Hughes.
Pearce explained how individuals are selected to compete at the state meet. “The Regional format for state qualifying was done away with in all classifications this year, and replaced with a weekly rolling opportunity to constantly move up the ladder in the VarVee stats. When the system closes at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, May 15, after any corrections or scratches, the state participants are also locked in. The top 18 (individuals or relays) get to go to the show.”
Pearce said that both Sackman and MacDougall have a good shot at “the show.” Sackman’s closest rival in the VarVee stats currently in the triple jump is a student from Burlington whose best leap is nearly a foot shy of Kaleb’s best.
“Geordyn [is] chasing down 2A defending state champ Lindsey Stindt from the Telluride-Norwood-Track conglomerate, and her TNT cohort, Emy Ludwig, both of whom are in the 16's in the 100 m hurdles, and who are all trying to catch the lone 15.89 gal from Limon, Caitlyn Hubbard.”
Next up for the Trojans is a freshman/sophomore meet at Western State College in Gunnison this Wednesday, April 27. The full squad then gets together for the 25-team Indian Invitational at Montrose, Friday, April 29. Competition begins at 10 a.m.
The Montrose meet “is essentially the closest facsimile to a home meet for us,” Pearce said. “We have the privilege of being able to work out there twice a week, thanks to a gracious coaching staff and accommodating athletic administration. We usually get our biggest fan base there to cheer us on, which gets our adrenaline pumping to give that extra home-field effort.”