There’s no I in BHS’ ‘team’

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

Sprinters break from the starting blocks in the boys 100-meter dash Wednesday at the annual Pine River Invitational in Bayfield. Slator Aplin of Telluride/Norwood won the event with Randy Haley of Montezuma-Cortez second.

By Dale Strode Herald staff writer

BAYFIELD - The Wolverines wanted to put the “team” in “track and field team” at the annual Pine River Invitational on Wednesday.

They did so, and they did so in dominating fashion.

The Bayfield High School track and field team posted record numbers in winning both the boys and girls divisions of Wednesday’s meet that was rescheduled because of last weekend’s snowstorm.

“Our coaches have focused on team effort this year,” said Bayfield junior Samantha Espinosa, who won the girls shot put Wednesday.

“That team effort has helped all of us individually,” Espinosa said after the Bayfield girls totaled a whopping 158.5 points to win the girls competition.

“We’re all working together as a team ... you can really feel that this year,” said Espinosa, who threw a season-high 33 feet, 1.75 inches to win at Wolverine Country Stadium. She also finished sixth in the discus (98-10).

At each venue, Espinosa was cheered – loudly – by her Bayfield teammates.

“It was exciting to get back up in the 33s (in the shot). And I beat my PR (personal record) in the discus,” said Espinosa, the daughter of Wendy and the late Donald Espinosa.

“The team ... that’s our whole focus this year,” Bayfield head coach Sherri Kimball said. “And the kids really showed up (Wednesday).”

Kimball said when the Wolverines concentrate on supporting each other and helping each other, they’re producing better results for themselves.

That included the Bayfield boys, who won their division with 133 points to runner-up Pagosa Springs’ 114.

Montezuma-Cortez was third in the boys standings (91), with Mancos fourth (86) and Telluride/Norwood fifth (56). The Durango junior varsity boys finished sixth (54).

“I’m really proud of the way the kids came out and competed,” said Kimball, looking back on a meet that saw senior Candace Shaw place in four events.

The Bayfield senior won the javelin (99-2), finished second in the discus (111-3) and fourth in the shot put (31-4.5). And she finished fourth in her newest event, the triple jump (32-3.5).

“It’s fun. It’s something different,” Shaw said after taking up the event two weeks ago.

“I just wanted to try it,” said Shaw, the daughter of Carla and John Shaw.

Bayfield’s Destini McGhehey and Micaela Knickerbocker finished 2-3 in the high jump. Morgan Allred and Brittany Hunter went 2-3 in the pole vault.

But the Bayfield girls not only scored in the field events, they also piled up points in running events, too:

Freshman Jessica Cusick won the 400-meter dash in 63.86 seconds.

Katy Funkhouser, a Bayfield sophomore, won the 1,600 in 6:26.39.

“It was a tough race, but I felt good,” Funkhouser said after leading the entire second half of the race.

“I don’t like being out in front actually,” she said. “But it was good (Wednesday),” said Funkhouser, the daughter of Madonna and Tod Funkhouser.

The BHS girls also captured first place in the 4x200 relay behind Ashlyn Schulder, Trista Hooley, Amy Roach and Jessie Roukema (two freshmen and two sophomore).

Pagosa Springs finished second to BHS in the girls standings (159.5-123).

The Dolores girls, led by their legion of sprinters, finished third. Lexi Atkinson of the Bears won the 100 meters, and Cassie Lard won the 200.

Similar balance and depth helped the Bayfield boys, who were paced by TJ Pazell.

The BHS junior won three events Wednesday and finished third in a fourth event (shot put: 44-1.5).

Pazell started his day by winning the javelin (147-8) in a throw that broke his own school record.

After his third place in the shot put, Pazell teamed with Aaron Velasquez, Keith Wickman and Zach Stone to win the boys 4x100 relay (46.03).

Then he won the long jump (20-1.75).

“I didn’t throw the shot like I wanted, but everything else went well,” said Pazell, son of David and Stacey Pazell.

“And we won the ... relay.”

Teammate Michael Hawkins, who finished fifth in the Class 3A state meet last year, won the boys shot put Wednesday (46-10.5). Durango’s Austin Miles was second at 45-10.5.

“The weather helps,” said Hawkins, a junior and son of Cindy and Frank Hawkins. “It would have been nasty if we ... had thrown on Saturday.”

The Bayfield boys also collected first-place points from Velasquez in the discus (135-7) and Steele Allred in the pole vault.

Allred, who was third in the Class 3A state meet last year, cleared 13-0 to win Wednesday. The BHS senior just missed at 13-6.

Allred was challenged by Dusty Mangus of Ignacio, who finished second at 12-0, and Teagan Overturf, also of Ignacio, who was third (11-6). It’s Overturf’s first year as a pole vaulter.

“That’s my first time over 13 feet,” Allred said after he was congratulated by Mangus and Overturf.

“I felt really good (Wednesday). I was hoping to jump high,” said Allred, son of Tina and Toby Allred. He said jumping against Mangus and Overturf helped him to his career best.

“The competition is good ... I want all of us to go to state,” Allred said of his neighborly rivals.

Ignacio, in addition to Mangus’s second in the pole vault, also collected points in the discus with Shane Richmond (129-3) and Colton Wyatt (124-6), finishing second and third, respectively.

“And we had a number of kids get PRs,” Ignacio coach Kathy Herrera said.

Michelle Simmons was second in the 200 and third in the 100. Cloe Seibel finished third in the 1,600-meter run (6:30) for the Bobcats. And freshman Sky Cotton finished fifth in the long jump (15-3.75).

Sky Cotton, Pam Cotton, Seibel and Simmons also teamed to give Ignacio third place in the girls sprint medley relay.

Other meet highlights Wednesday included Ty Williams’ easy victory in the boys 1,600. The senior from Norwood, a three-time state cross country champion who just signed to run at Kansas University next year, also ran on Telluride/Norwood’s winning 4x400 relay team and the runner-up 4x800 team.

dstrode@durangoherald.com

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