Kremmling " West Grand track team finally gets a shot at competition |

Kremmling " West Grand track team finally gets a shot at competition

West Grand High School track team athletes finally had their first opportunity for competition during the first week of April at a freshman/sophomore meet hosted by Glenwood Springs on Wednesday, April 2.

The key performances of the meet were turned in by sophomore Brook Cecil, who won the high jump with a winning leap of 4 feet, 10 inches. Sophomore Melissa Kraker cleared the same height and was awarded second place based on number of misses during the competition.

The team of Taylor Pesch, Jessica Raecke, Kraker and Cecil combined to win the 4 x 400-meter race in the final event of the day. Pesch, Raecke, Erin Beason and Cecil finished fourth in the 4 x 200-meter relay.

In individual events, Kraker turned in a third-place finish in the 1,600 meter run. Beason, a sophomore, jumped 30 feet, 3 inches to earn a third place finish in the triple jump.

Tim Ritschard and Zach Adams along with Chris Zagone represented the Mustang boys team, and all three placed in their events. Adams was eighth in the 1,600 meter run and Ritschard, with a 16 feet, 10 inch long jump and a 34 feet, 4 inch triple jump finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in those events.

The hurdle events are the favorite choices for Zagone. Head coach Joe Shields said the sophomore competed well, especially considering he had been unable to run a full flight of hurdles in practice. He won his 110-meter high hurdle heat and finished fourth overall, in a time of 20.23. His time of 50.27 in the intermediate hurdles was good enough for an overall finish of sixth place.

On Saturday, April 5, the Mustang teams competed with 20 other Class 4A, 3A and 2A schools in the annual Eagle Valley Invitational. More than 650 athletes, including several state champions from 2007, were entered in the meet.

West Grand’s team numbers are down considerably from other years. However, coach Shields said, the 10 girls and seven boys who participated did quite well. The girls placed in a total of nine events and finished in fourth place in the team competition.

Danette Billington, West Grand’s leading scorer from 2007, got her 2008 campaign started well by placing in three individual events and teaming with Jordan Davidson, Renea Ellison and Brook Cecil for fifth place in the 800 sprint medley.

A junior, Billington, was fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.91. Her time of 52.28 in the 300-meter hurdles was the third best time and she finished second in the long jump with a leap of 15 feet, 2 inches. Kraker and Cecil both placed in the high jump while Beason took sixth place in the long jump and third in the triple jump with an effort measured at 29 feet, 6.75 inches.

The girls team demonstrated depth in the horizontal jumps with two places in the long jump and three in the triple jump. Renea Ellison, sixth, and Jordan Davidson, eighth, joined Beason in the triple jump event.

Davidson cleared a height of 7 feet, 6 inches to finish second in the pole vault.

The 4 x 400-meter relay team of Kraker, Ellison, Pesch and Cecil wrapped up a long day with a second place in that event with a time 4:47.46.

Rick Gamblin had West Grand’s lone first place of the meet when he won the pole vault by clearing 10 feet. Ritschard took fourth in the vault and Zagone finished sixth. Those 18 team points were crucial in the Mustang’s eighth-place team finish.

Marshall Kraker and Drew Klotz each placed in two events to complete the team scoring. Marshall threw the shot 40 feet, 7 inches for fifth place and his 5 feet, 8 inch high jump tied for fifth in that event. Klotz placed in both hurdle events. He was seventh in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 17.69 and eighth in the 300-meter hurdles at 46.70.

A special highlight of the Eagle Valley Invitational came when 6 foot, 7 inch, 315 lb. Mason Finely of Buena Vista threw the discus 202 feet, 10 inches. That distance is an all-time best for a Colorado high school athlete. Finely is a junior and the defending Class 3A state champion in the discus.

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