Friday night was a time-dropping, relay-winning showcase for the Durango High School track and field team at the Phil Wertman Invitational in Grand Junction.
Between both the boys and girls teams, the Demons were victorious in five of the relay events, and three regular members of the girls 4x800 relay team finished first, third and fourth in the 800-meter open race, sparking excitement for the stretch run and state meet from DHS track coach Mark Dutro.
“The relays did really well,” Dutro said. “The big thing about the day is we improved in a lot of places, a lot of individual times. Lots of kids are in the top 18 of state qualifying now that weren’t before.”
DHS was second with 106 points on the girls side and fifth on the boys side with 70½ points, behind respective winners Grand Junction and Fruita Monument.
In the girls 4x800 race, Dominique Ward, Hannah Peterson, Emily Schaldach and Katerina Seibert won by more than 20 seconds, finishing in 10 minutes, 27.48 seconds.
In the 800-meter run, Shannon Maloney won in 2:19.77, and Karli Foreman posted a personal best 2:22.69 in third. Madeigh Winsor also posted a career best in 2:25.09, good for fourth.
With a bevy of quality runners at the 800-meter distance, Dutro’s excited about the possibilities come the state meet.
“If you add the three girls that ran the open (800) and take the time for Dominique Ward, they’re basically a combined 3 seconds off the school record,” he said. “It would put them two seconds off the best time in the state at (Class) 4A (this year).”
The girls 800 sprint medley team of Lauren McMunn, Hannah Hwang, Mackenzie Sill and Miranda Gallegos was victorious in 1:55.53, and the boys 4x800 team of Joe Maloney, Colin Francom, Trent Andrews and Alastair McMillan won by nearly six seconds in 8:32.92.
“Our guys 4x8, that was a 25-second drop over their previous best this year,” Dutro said.
Both Durango 4x400 relay teams were winners. The boys team of Jared Blake, Maloney, Shane Bisogno and Devin Lewis finished in 3:27.62, while the girls squad of Foreman, Winsor, Ward and Maloney won in 4:10.52. Lewis also had a second in the 100 in 11.43 seconds.
Also claiming runners-up were Marley Weaver-Gabel in the girls 400, Peterson in the girls 1600, Maloney in the boys 800, Gallegos in the girls long jump and Sill in the girls high jump.
“That (jump) puts Gallegos on the (qualifying) list for long jump, and she’s just a freshman,” Dutro said.
Durango’s 4x200 teams both came in third place. Hwang, Sill, Weaver-Gabel and Gallegos finished in 1:49.71, while Dakota Sutherlin, Blake, Bisogno and Lewis ran in 1:34.83.
Sutherlin was third in the 110 hurdles, as well, while Hwang captured third in the 200. Dane Mestas tied for third in the boys high jump.