MONTROSE – High school track teams from throughout the region descended on Montrose last Friday for the Montrose Invitational Track and Field Meet, bringing with them a high level of competition from Ouray, Telluride and Montrose.
Overall, the home team outrivaled nearly all of its 19-team competition, racing to second place behind event winner Glenwood Springs thanks to strong performances across the board – and especially from its girls’ team.
Leading the Lady Indians charge was Allison Martin who, by day’s end, had locked up two podium finishes: She dominated in the 800-meter, placing first with a time of 2:30.21, and ramped up again in the 1600-meter to finish second with a time of 5:37.24. Nipping at Martin’s heels in both the 800 and the 1600 were teammates Emily Simpson and Tess Skoe. Simpson narrowly missed the top three with a 2:36.64 finish in the 800 (winning her fourth place,) while Skoe crossed the 1600-meter finish line three seconds behind Martin to take third.
The Lady Indians’ winning streak didn’t end there: Rebecca Long beat out the rest of the competition in the 3200-meter with her first place-winning time of 12:24.36, and the MHS girls 4x800 meter relay team finished second in the event.
Meanwhile, Michelle Owen tied for first in the high jump with a jump of 4'8” then rallied for third in the triple jump with a 32'10” jump.
While the Lady Indians provided strong footing for the home team, its boys team held up well against stiff competition also. With a smoking fast finish of 2:04.61, MHS' Douglas Hallenborg took top honors in the 800-meter dash just ahead of teammates Eric Shellhorn and Eric Wiard, who placed third and fifth respectively.
It was Shellhorn’s turn to taste the glory in the boys 1600-meter, however. He finished first with a time of 4:39.
Other high marks for Montrose last Friday included MHS' boys 4x400 meter relay team finishing third with a time of 3:33.44, and MHS' Joshua Bishop taking third in the discus with a throw of 118'8.
The next stop for Montrose track will be in Grand Junction this Friday, for the Tiger Invitational.
THS Track Ramps Up for End-of-Season
“This is always a great meet as people ramp up their performances in preparation for the conference, regional, and state meets to come,” said THS track coach Keith Hampton of last weekend’s Montrose Invitational, in which the Miners brought out their largest team ever (16 athletes.)
The team was in the midst of what Hampton called a “grueling” week of competition, attending three meets in five days. Yet the long days of competition and the uncooperative spring weather didn’t stymie Telluride, with the team breaking out some fine finishes during their end-of-regular-season push last week.
Before landing in Montrose on Friday, the Miners began their end-of-season push in Gunnison. There, the girls dominated with Emy Ludwig nearly earning a trifecta with a second in the 100-meter high hurdles, third in the 300-meter low hurdles and fifth in the 200m dash. Teammate Rachel Hampton broke out her best for the 1600-meter, taking first, then dashed to third in the 3200-meter.
The boys’ team’s Nathan Loomis took fifth in the 1600 meter run while Brian Kell finished fourth in the 200-meter dash.
At Montrose, stiff competition kept many Miner runners off the podium but was nevertheless a good test for the team with many athletes posting personal bests. Among them were Mavy Lorandi (800m and 400m), Ryan Niebruegg (1600m), Emily Langley (800m), and Jessie Hild (800m).
Cracking into the top tier at Montrose were Ludwig, who placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and fifth in the 100-meter dash with a season best time of 13.95. Lobo James posted his season best of 38’10.5” in the triple jump to take third place.
Immediately following the Montrose meet, Telluride headed to Alamosa for the High Altitude Championship featuring 21 of the best mountain teams in the state. The Telluride girls’ team was on their game finishing a strong eighth; one of their best finishes of the season. Leading the girls were freshman Hampton and sophomore Ludwig. Hampton anchored the 4x800 meter relay team to a sixth place finish. Running with Hampton were Hild, Langley, and Mallory Bosse. Their time of 11:44 was their best of the year.
Hampton then went on the finish fifth in the 1600 meter and fourth in the 3200 meter.
Ludwig also had a great day, says coach Hampton, starting with a personal best time of 16.80 in the 100-meter hurdles, which was good for second place. She followed this performance up with another second place finish in the 300-meter hurdles.
“Emy is just short of achieving state qualifying marks in both hurdle events. As the second ranked hurdler in the western region, she is expected to make state in both events,” Hampton said, adding that Ludwig is ranked no. 1 in conference in the 400m and no. 2 in the 200m as well.
Other Telluride track stars to look out for as the season closes in include THS senior athletes Kell, currently ranked no. 1 in conference in the 100-meters; James, currently ranked no. 2 in conference in the high jump and no. 3 in the triple jump; and Spencer Zarr, currently ranked no. 7 in the discus with a personal best of 106’-03”.
The team travels to Bayfield for the Conference Championships this Saturday.
“The best finish ever by the team has been third place. This year, Telluride hopes to give favorite Dolores High School a run for their money,” Hampton said.
Ouray Charges Ahead With Conference Championships on the Horizon
The Trojans will be poised to bring their best to the upcoming San Juan Basin League Meet in Bayfield this Saturday, having steadily warmed their competitive engines throughout the last few weeks’ competitions.
“Like all teams throughout the state, Ouray has been searching for some good weather and found little so far,” Ouray Coach Bernie Pearce said. “Our hope is to have a least reasonable temperatures, manageable wind and negligible showers of either the rain or snow variety to make conditions drift more toward the ideal.”
In Montrose last Friday the Trojans faced stiff competition from the event’s 18 other teams, but the team nevertheless brought a solid game with many personal records posted on the wet Montrose track.
Lizzy Ficco’s Long Jump of 13’ 8.25” was good enough to earn her a personal best record, while Blake Zimmerman’s finish in the 300m hurdles (55.77) beat out this runner’s own record which had been posted earlier this season. Steven Duce also finished with a personal best time: 12:17.29 (nearly a second faster than his last PR,) in the 3200m run.
The Trojans did put some athletes in medal-winning territory also, with Stephanie Ficco taking fifth in the 1600m and Taylor Schoenebaum racing to sith in the 3200m.
The future looks bright for the team’s throwers too, thanks to their stellar performance in the Thrower’s Relay exhibition event at the Montrose meet. The Thrower’s Relay team from Ouray, comprised of Chris Mozdzen, Brandon Sanchez, Steven Duce, and Jaxon Gaita, finished second in this non-scored event.
“We've been spicing up mid-week practices by dividing the team into two squads and competing against one another in a pentathlon of events at the Montrose track,” Pearce said. “It tends to focus the athletes on a particular goal instead of just going through the motions of a daily workout.”
Pearce said the team’s strengths are in the boys and girls triple jump, boys shot put, boys and girls 4 x 800 relays, girls 800 medley relay, girls 100 and 300 hurdles and, boys 4x400 relay.
“We are also trying to heal a few injuries that have crept on the scene, so we may not be at full strength this Saturday at Bayfield, but in the hopes of having everyone hitting on all cylinders when we get to Regionals in Grand Junction at Stocker Stadium on Thursday and Friday, May 13 and 14,” he said.