BAYFIELD – A lot has changed at Bayfield High School since Ron Tate’s 800-meter relay team set a school record and took second at the state track and field championships.
Instead of competing on the local roads, teams now have a soft artificial track to run on, Tate said, and there’s the surrounding glory of the since-renovated school and Wolverine Country Stadium, too.
And Saturday at the Intermountain League Track and Field Championships, something else changed after 32 years: Ron Tate’s record.
A Bayfield team of Keith Wickman, John Arnold, Joey Webb and Allec Rodriguez posted a time of 1 minute, 33.64 seconds – less than half a second better than Tate and his team’s 1:34 from 1982.
“In some ways it’s sad because the record has been around for so long,” said Tate, father of current Bayfield 400-meter runner Nate Tate. “But it’s nice to see them making those kind of marks.”
The record-setting group didn’t even take first, either.
The Pagosa Springs team took the lead on an inside lane on the final leg of the race, edging the Wolverines by 11-hundreths of a second for a 1:33.53 finish.
Rodriguez had no idea his team was close to the record.
“We just said, ‘Let’s go out and run and do the best we can, and we happened to break the school record,” said Rodriguez, who attributed the team’s speed to running at its home stadium in front of a substantial home crowd. “I didn’t even know what (the record) was.”
That school record might not have beaten out the field, but another one did.
That’s right. Two in one day.
In the girls shot put, Candace Shaw launched a shot that sailed almost a full foot beyond Valerie Hahn’s 1996 school record of 34 feet, 8 inches.
Shaw’s spinning throw, which was more than 2 feet past her previous personal record, hit the 35-7.75 mark to make her an IML champion and place her well into the state-qualifying field.
“I was just relaxed,” Shaw said. “It was supposed to be my day; I needed it to be my day.”
It was her day at the discus, too, where her 116-6 mark was good enough for another first place, even if it was 3 feet shy of her personal best.
Shaw, who also has her sights set on that 123-foot school record at state next weekend, wasn’t satisfied.
“I don’t know; I have mixed emotions,” Shaw said after her first event. “I’ll take the win; I just wish I could’ve done better. It’ll be good to have something to chase.”
That was before her record-setting shot toss and her second-place 32-2.25 triple jump.
“Competitive girl,” Bayfield throwing coach Chip Hodlmair said. “Ridiculous what she does.”
“I think Candace Shaw was just really on (Saturday),” BHS head coach Sherry Kimball said.
In addition to Shaw’s top indvidiual marks, Destini McGhehey won the 100-meter dash with a 13.44, Ashlyn Schulder won the 200-meter dash with a 28.89, Katy Funkhouser won the 1,600 with a 5:51.94, and Brittany Hunter won the all-BHS girls pole vault competition with a 6-6 jump.
Bayfield’s 4x100-meter girls relay team also took first with a time of 53.84 after breaking to an early lead.
Those wins, along with critical runners-up such as Jessica Cusick’s 63:13 in the 400 meters, Haley Clarke’s 2:48.90 in the 800 and Jessie Roukema’s 4-10 mark in high jump, helped crown the Bayfield girls IML champions with a dominating 135˝ points.
Centauri was second with 107˝, Pagosa Springs third with 69, Alamosa was fourth with 40 and Monte Vista fifth with 28.
“I expected that of my girls,” Kimball said. “But they performed. They showed up.”
The boys didn’t fare much worse, running, jumping and throwing to second place with a score of 105 behind champion Pagosa Springs’ 113. Alamosa was third with 96, followed by Centauri’s 29 and Monte Vista’s 19.
The throwers also led the way for the boys with Michael Hawkins’ victorious 46-7 mark in shot put and Aaron Velasquez’s first-place 139-1 in discus.
With TJ Pazell – already in state-qualifying position – out of the throwing lineup for a national weight-lifting competition in Las Vegas, Velasquez got to step up in the shot put, too. He threw a 40-7, which was good enough for third.
Not bad for the two-time state wrestling champion’s third-ever day throwing the metal ball.
“I think it’s fun, but it kind of makes you wonder if I’d be going to state or not (if I’d started earlier),” Velasquez said of missing state qualifying position by about 4 feet. “Or maybe it was just one of those lucky days.”
At the high jump, Cody Rose also posted a personal record with a second-place 6-0 jump.
“He jumped very well. He was on top of it (Saturday),” Kimball said. “We don’t know what it’s going to take (to qualify for state), but he’s right there.”
The top 18 athletes in each event qualify for next weekend’s CHSAA Class 3A Track and Field State Championships at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
Steele Allred and John Arnold went 1-2, respectively, in the pole vault with jumps of 12-6.
In the sprints, Rodriguez won the 100 meters with an 11.91, and Wickman won the 200 with a 23.45.
The boys 4x100 relay team of Velasquez, Wickman, Rodriguez and Zachary Stone won with a time of 45.38 after holding off threats from Pagosa Springs and Alamosa on the final stretch, shortly before the meet was delayed for almost an hour because of afternoon thunderstorms.
After competition resumed on the wet track, Bayfield freshman Luke Webb huffed his way to second in the 3,200, 20 seconds ahead of Alamosa’s Gavin Palmer but 40 seconds behind a blazing Carlos Brinkmann of Pagosa Springs, who lapped almost every other runner.
The 4x400 relay team of Robert Westbrook, Webb, Rodriguez and Nate Tate took second with a season best 3:38.55. The BHS girls also finished second – Funkhouser, Brittany Hunter, Maggie Zink and Jessica Cusick – with a season-best 4:22.76.
“We’re pretty proud of a lot of our kids,” Kimball said. “They’re peaking at the right time, and that’s what we like to see.”