CORTEZ – Coach Mark Dutro reminded the Demons that they would need a fast start at the annual Southwestern League Track and Field Championships.
No problem, coach.
The Demons heard Dutro’s directive, hit the track and promptly won the opening two relays at the conference championships Friday afternoon in Cortez.
“That’s a really good start for us,” Durango head coach Mark Dutro said after the Demons won the boys and girls 4x800 relays at Cortez Middle School.
“The relays ran well, not necessarily fast (because of the wind). But they ran well, and we picked up some extra points from our jumpers,” Dutro said after the Durango girls ended the first day of the two-day SWL meet solidly in first place.
Helped by a 1-2 finish from Shannon Maloney and Hannah Peterson in the 3,200-meter run, the DHS girls posted 48 points on a windy afternoon and evening to lead second-place Grand Junction (22). Fruita Monument is tied for third with Grand Junction Central (18) in the hybrid 5A/4A league meet.
“Now, we have to see if we can keep it going (today),” Dutro said. The meet will resume at 9 a.m. today in Cortez.
“It definitely helps to have someone to chase,” Durango senior Karli Foreman said after her take-command 800-meter leg helped the Demons win the girls 4x800 relay in 10:09.92.
“You have someone to focus on ... that makes it easier,” said Foreman, who caught and passed two runners and put the Demons in the lead on the third leg of the relay.
Katerina Seibert led off for DHS and handed to Emily Schaldach. Foreman, daughter of Kevin and Val Foreman, passed the baton to anchor Madeigh Winsor.
“It was really scary (to run out front with a lead). But it definitely helps you run fast,” said Winsor, daughter of Kin and Sean Winsor.
Later, the DHS relay runners led the cheers when Peterson and Maloney ran away from the field in the girls 3,200.
Peterson led the first half of the race. She and Maloney shared the lead and ran side-by-side for most of the second half.
They crossed the finish line in a virtual tie, although Maloney, a freshman, was credited with the win in 12:58.08. Peterson was timed in 12:58.11.
“We just kind of went ... across together,” said Maloney, daughter of Melissa and Murdoch Maloney. “We were a little slow (because of the wind).”
Maloney also recorded the fastest qualifying time Friday in the girls 400 meters (1:00.39).
She’ll race in the 400 finals today along with Durango teammates Dominique Ward and Hannah Hwang.
The DHS girls also cashed in with points in the field events staged Friday.
McKenna Franzen was third in the shot put (36-4), while McKenzie Marciante won the pole vault (8-0). Mariah Dorsey was second (7-6).
Senior Tiffany Morlan jumped a career-best 32-0 to finish third in the triple jump. Teammate Emily Fogel, a freshman, was fifth (30-5).
“On my first two jumps, I scratched,” Morlan said.
Facing an “emotional” crisis, Morlan cranked out her best jump of the year.
“I used all that pent-up ... emotion,” said Morlan, daughter of Sheldon and Trish Morlan.
The Durango boys started the afternoon with a 4x800 victory, including a key third leg from sophomore Trent Andrews.
Alastair McMillan opened for the Demons. He gave the baton to Colin Francom.
Andrews raced past Chuck Bisbee of Fruita Monument, then held him off down the stretch.
Joe Maloney, Shannon’s older brother, completed the victory with a fast anchor leg.
“I heard him (Bisbee) right behind me (down the stretch),” said Andrews, son of Alan and Nancy Andrews.
He said the west-side bleachers helped block the wind for part of the race.
“You .. still had that one corner with headwind,” he said.
Andrews said he was confident once he turned the baton over to Joe Maloney.
“You know if you give it to Joe with a lead, he’ll finish,” Andrews said.
Maloney later ran to a third-place finish in the boys 3,200, which was won by Greg Eccher of Class 5A Grand Junction (10:14.04). Kyler Brown of 5A Fruita Monument was second (10:25.92). Maloney, of 4A Durango, was third in 10:36.39.
Senior Jared Blake, one of the top hurdlers in the state, led the Demons’ first-day qualifiers in Cortez.
Blake won his heats in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300 hurdles, advancing to the finals as the top qualifier in each event.
“I’m just trying to stay clean,” Blake said after his flawless pass in the 110 hurdles (15.13). “I just wanted to get into the finals.”
He did so, and he did so in the 300 hurdles with a top qualifying time of 40.34.
Blake, son of Brad and Janelle Blake, was the state runner-up in the high hurdles last year. He was fifth at state in the 300 hurdles.
Teammate Dakota Sutherlin was the second-fastest qualifier in the high hurdles Friday. He also qualified for the 300 hurdle finals with the fourth-fastest preliminary time.
Sprinter Devin Lewis of the Demons powered into the finals of the 100 and 400 meters.
Lewis, a sophomore, posted the second-fastest qualifying time in the 100 meters (11.51). He ranked third among the 400 qualifiers (52.72).
Shane Bisogno of the Demons was the No. 7 qualifier in the 400.Bisogno also finished fifth in the long jump at the SWL meet. He went 18-8.5.
DHS freshman Gabe Gilleland won the pole vault (10-9) and finished sixth in the high jump (5-6).
Grand Junction led the boys standings after Day 1 with 57 points. Fruita Monument is second with 34, and Durango is in third place (25), ahead of fellow 4A Montrose (22).