West Grand relay team sets new school record at state track meet
For Sky-Hi News
The end of the season for Grand County athletes was a memorable one at the Colorado High School Activities Association State Track and Field Championships, with a new entry in the record books among many highlights.
West Grand and Middle Park students alike took home some hardware during the highest tier of competition, though the biggest distinction was for the Mustang boys 4×200-meter relay as they broke a 30-year school record.
Chasing the dream
With the temperature in Lakewood going from the 80s on the first day of state to roughly half that for the rest of the weekend, the West Grand boys made the most of the heat while they could.
Senior Levi Edson started off the first leg of the half-mile relay, with the baton next going to juniors Ollie Bergman and Brayden James.
Junior Wyatt Howell brought it home as the anchor, feeling confident with the finish — narrowly avoiding a competitor’s wild arm movements down the final stretch — but feeling truly elated once he realized he and his teammates had at last accomplished a long-time goal.
“We’ve had trash weather every meet so far this year, and our talk was to get it this time,” Howell said.
The West Grand boys 4×200 record of 1:32.76 was established in 1992, with the new entry a fraction of a second quicker at 1:32.70. Edson noted that while it was a slim margin, that was hardly their focus.
“I just wanted to get that record for these guys,” Edson said. “We’ve been running 34’s all season, and then suddenly we get in the 32’s, so we never even touched the 33’s, which is cool.”
The crew had to wait an extra day for the 4×2 finals — thanks to snow forcing rescheduling — with a third-place result.
The same foursome also competed in the 4×100 to take 15th in the prelims and ran the 4×400 relay Sunday, setting a new season best of 3:33.92 to place sixth.
For Edson as the eldest member of the relay group, the conclusion to his high school career was highly satisfying.
“All the meets and watching these getting better all season and myself getting is what I’ll remember,” he said. “This team has really meant a lot to me. We’re family now.”
In other West Grand boys results, both Bergman and Galen Wilkinson competed in the pole vault — tying for 12th at 10 feet, 8 inches — while freshman Joe Probst narrowly missed the finals of the 110 hurdles with a run-off competition despite a personal record 16.64.
The Mustang girls likewise had the same runners in a trifecta of relay races, with seniors Maddy Probst and Lillie Steinle and freshmen Sara Lechman and Taylor Martinson competing in the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400.
Taking 14th in the 4×100 and 10th in the 4×400, the quartet earned a trip to the podium in the 4×200, with their speediest time of the season (1:51.6) getting them past the preliminaries, ultimately placing seventh.
Finishing with a much better placement than their seeding, Maddy Probst said she was thrilled to get such a finish, especially given the delay in the middle of the meet that prevented practice much less competition.
“It was hard to go through a whole day of doing nothing, but we ended up performing well. It’s made a great bond for our whole team,” she said.
Lechman credited her teammates with providing a trusting atmosphere that allowed them to succeed.
“We have to have faith that that person is going to get that baton in your hand so you can have a successful run,” she said. “Coming into it this season, we weren’t that close, but now we’re locked at the hip.”
Lechman was the lone West Grand runner to compete in a solo race, placing 16th in the 400 dash (1:05.1), while high jumper Audree Miller was 16th as well (4 foot 6 inches) and pole vaulter Lillian Hufford just outside of placement at 8 feet 2 inches.
Hitting a high
Middle Park High School had only one athlete at state, though the single day was a productive one.
Panthers senior Madison Moyer tied for fifth in the high jump at a height of 5 feet 1 inch during the opening round at Jeffco Stadium.
Though she was an inch short of her personal best, she was pleased with being able to earn a medal in her single season of track and field, joining the program as a senior.
“I’ve always wanted to, and it was my last year left,” Moyer said. “It was really fun, and I’m just glad I made it here.”
Middle Park coach Christine Dubois-Miller said she was likewise pleased with having a state placer in a season that was not without some hardship with cold weather delaying things for weeks.
“It got started late and it was a great season, but it was tough. Hopefully kids are coming back fired up. We had a bunch of kids who came out to support her today, so hopefully they get the bug to make it happen next year,” she said.
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