Five West Grand tracksters qualify for state
Sky-Hi News Sports Correspondent
Five WG tracksters qualify for state
In what was the final regional qualifying track and field meet for the 2A and 3A classifications in Colorado, five West Grand athletes finished in the top three in their respective events and qualified for the state track meet to be held this week at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
Pole-vaulters Tim Ritschard, Logan Cummings, Brook Cecil will join hurdler Travis Gore and high jumper Melissa Kraker at the state meet. Cecil also qualified in the high jump.
Beginning with the 2011 track season, qualifications for the state meet in all classifications will be determined by performances throughout the entire season.
For this season, the three-day regional meet in Grand Junction began last Wednesday with the pole vault event. For the Mustangs of West Grand, Ritschard and Cummings took the top two places and will move on to the state meet. Ritschard’s winning vault was 10′ 9″ and Cummings cleared 10′ 3″ for runnerup honors.
For the girls, Cecil vaulted 7′ 6″ and qualified for state with a third-place finish. Shawna Rule finished in fourth place and Abrah Masterson finished in sixth place for the Mustangs.
On Thursday, both of the 4 x 800-meter relay teams ran their season-best times and both finished in fifth place. The Lady Mustang team of Taylor Pesch, Cecil, Kraker and Jessica Raecke turned in a time of 10:41.83. Chris Zagone, Zach Ahrens, Michael Tenski and Kris Gregory cut a full 36 seconds off their previous best with a time of 9:33.38. All eight runners on those two teams had their season-best 800-meter splits.
Destry Heide and Hannah Howell both placed in the finals of the discus event. Heide had a personal-best throw of 92′ 2″ for fourth place and Howell was sixth with a throw of 90′ 9″.
Preliminaries in all of the sprints and hurdle events were held on Thursday. In the girl’s 100-meter hurdles, Laura Billington and Kristina Ekren placed in the top eight and moved on to the finals on Friday. Billington was seventh with a time of 18.98 and Ekren took eighth overall at 19.09.
Gore and Ritschard both progressed through the preliminaries of the 110-meter high hurdles on Thursday to qualify for Friday’s finals. Gore also qualified for the finals in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles and Ekren qualified for the finals in the 300-meter low hurdles.
The high jump on Friday proved to be the strongest event for the West Grand girls team. Kraker and Cecil finished first and second in the event with Ekren taking seventh place. Kraker and Cecil both cleared a meet high 4′ 10″ and qualified for the state meet. Kraker had pre-qualified for state twice during the season and her season-best jump of 5′ 3″ was at the league meet two weeks ago in Kremmling.
Gore, who has only been competing in the hurdle events for a month, ran 16.69 in the 110-meter race to earn second place and a trip to the state tournament. Ritschard was seventh in the finals.
Gore and Ekren both placed seventh in the finals of their respective 300-meter hurdle races. Pesch also made the finals of the 400-meter race and finished in seventh place.
Gregory took almost 40 seconds off of his previous best time in the finals of the 3200-meter run with a time of 11:32.71. He earned a sixth place ribbon for his effort.
The sprint relays were all contested on Friday, with the boys 4 x 100-meter team having the highest finish for West Grand with a time of 47.01. Derrin Weaver, Ritschard, Luke Miller and Gore are the members of that team and they placed fourth. That same group also ran the 4 x 200-meter race and finished in seventh place.
The girl’s 4 x 200-meter and 4 x 100-meter both placed eighth. Masterson, Pesch, Raecke and Kraker ran the 4 x 200-meter race while Carly Reynolds, Hannah Howell, Ekren and Billington ran the 4 x 100-meter event.
Both of the 4 x 400-meter relay teams had season-best times in the final events of the meet. Pesch, Kraker, Raecke and Cecil took fifth place with a time of 4:32.82. The boys team of Auztin Ramirez, Ahrens, Tenski and Zagone finished in sixth place with a time of 3:55.7.
There were 19 Class 1A/2A schools with entries in the regional meet. West Grand’s girls finished fourth in the team scoring while the boys finished in seventh place. There were a total of 34 season-best performances by West Grand athletes. Coach Joe Shields was happy with the effort. “Those are positive measures of their continued progress individually,” he said, “and demonstrates their determined efforts over the three-day event.”
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