West Grand High School tracksters hone skills for league meet
Sky-Hi News sports correspondent
Grand County, CO Colorado
The season for the West Grand High School track team continues to be a growing and learning experience.
With the typically unpredictable spring weather in the Rocky Mountains, the teams have been dodging rain drops and snow showers in their quest for competition.
Traveling to Coal Ridge on April 16, the Mustangs made the trip primarily to take advantage of the pole vault competition. The vaulters didn’t start their competition until 7 p.m. and finished at 9:30 p.m. so the entire competition was under the lights.
Tim Ritschard finished third in the event and freshman Logan Cummings placed sixth. Coach Joe Shields believes Cummings has a bright future in this event.
In the women’s event, Brook Cecil placed second with her best vault of the season. Shawna Rule placed fifth and progressed well as a freshman vaulter.
Coach Shields noted that Cecil has significant patella tendonitis in both knees and that has hampered the senior athlete in competition and in practice this season. The injury has been particularly bothersome in the high jump, an event in which she has excelled since her freshman season.
In the Glenwood Springs event, the most productive and consistent relay team for the Mustangs again performed well. The 4-by-800 meter relay team of Cecil, Taylor Pesch, Melissa Kraker and Jessica Raecke finished in third place.
The young girl hurdlers, Laura Billington, Chyenne Sims, Katie Sanford, Shawna Rule and Kristina Ekren are doing quite well, according to Coach Shields. Billington placed fourth in the 300-meter event at Glenwood and went under 55 seconds for the first time in her high school career.
Kraker placed third in the high jump at Glenwood, while Cecil was held out of the event.
Destry Heide and Chris Zagone have been tremendously consistent all season. Heide usually finds a way to score in both throws, Coach Shield said, and is often used in relay events.
Zagone has improved as much as anyone in recent years, according to Shields. He is running well in both hurdle events and has been a member of both the 4-by-800 meter and 4-by-400 meter relay teams.
At the Hayden High School Invitational in Craig on April 23 many of the younger members of the team gained valuable experience in a meet that was highlighted by poor weather.
In the high jump, Kraker won the event with a leap of 4-8 and Ekren placed second at 4-6. Billington placed second in the 110-meter high hurdles while Ekren and Sanford placed in the top five. In the 300-meter hurdles, Billington placed second while Ekren earned a fourth place finish.
Heide finished second in both the discus and shot put events.
For the boys, Travis Gore won the 110-meter high hurdles with Zagone placing third and Chase Hill grabbing a fourth-place finish. Zagone finished second in the 300-meter hurdle event.
Luke Miller was fourth in the 100-meter dash, second in the long jump and was a member of the winning 4-by-100 meter and second place 4-by-200 meter relay teams.
Kris Gregory and Michael Tenski both ran the three middle distance events and placed in the top five in the 4-by-800 meter relay race, the 1600-meter run and the 800-meter competition.
Coach Shields noted that this was the first event of the season for Miller, Gore, Hill and Ekren and all had impressive start to their season.
At the Rifle track meet held last Saturday, the 4-by-800 meter girls relay team of Pesch, Cecil, Raecke and Abrah Masterson placed third. Cecil was fifth in the high jump and Gore finished seventh in the high jump at 5-10.
In the pole vault event, Ritschard placed second (10-6), Hill was fifth (10) and Cummings placed sixth (9-6). Luke Roderick had a personal best vault of 9 and placed ninth.
For the girls Rule cleared 7-6 to earn fourth place.
Gore ran his first ever flight of 300-meter intermediate hurdles in a time of 44.9. He won his heat, but finished in tenth place overall in the competition. Coach Shields said his performances in the hurdling events are very encouraging as the team prepares for the league meet in Kremmling on May 8.
Sims also was 10th in the 300-meter event as she ran a season best time of 56 seconds.
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