CORTEZ – The only thing that slowed down the Demons was a lightning delay.
Otherwise, the Durango High School girls track team stayed right on track Saturday, winning its fourth consecutive Southwestern League championship in record-setting fashion.
“Four in a row. That is really something in this league,” Durango assistant coach Steve Thyfault said after the DHS girls finished the two-day meet the same way they started it – with a relay victory.
“The boys had a great day, too,” Thyfault said after the Durango boys won the final 4x400 relay and finished third overall behind Grand Junction and Fruita Monument, both Class 5A schools.
A record run by Durango freshman Shannon Maloney sent shock waves through the Demons’ camp Saturday morning. Her time of 58.94 seconds in the 400 meters not only won the event but broke the Durango school record.
“I ... tried to pick it up at the 100 mark,” the soft-spoken Maloney said after blistering the final straight to beat the previous school record of 59.24, set in 2005 by Katie Thompson.
“I felt good (Saturday),” said Maloney, who added she was glad the blustery wind of the day before was missing on a calm Saturday morning.
“But it was really hot,” she said.
Earlier Saturday, Maloney teamed with Mackenzie Sill, Miranda Gallegos and Hannah Hwang of the Demons to win the girls 800 sprint medley relay.
The Demons collected the last of their record 161 points in the final relay Saturday afternoon.
This time, a dramatic anchor leg by Durango’s Dominique Ward gave the Demons the conference title in the 4x400. Madeigh Winsor, Katerina Seibert and Marley Weaver-Gabel joined Ward for the 4:10.12 victory.
Grand Junction finished a distant second to the DHS girls with 113 points. Fruita Monument was third (98) and Montezuma-Cortez fourth (84). The Montrose girls were fifth (61), followed by Central (38).
Maloney, daughter of Melissa and Murdoch Maloney, won the girls 3,200 on Friday at Cortez Middle School. Even after she broke the DHS record in the 400 on Saturday, the Maloney family was far from finished with its work for the day.
Older brother Joe Maloney, a junior, went out and demoralized the field by winning the boys 800 from start to finish (2:00.99). He won by nearly three seconds.
Maloney wrapped up the meet by joining Jared Blake, Shane Bisogno and Devin Lewis as Durango won the 4x400 relay in 3:27.72.
“I really just wanted to go as hard as I could the whole way,” Maloney said after his 800 victory. “I was trying ... to get ready for state next week.”
Maloney, a state qualifier in multiple events like his sister, also ran on the Demons’ 4x800 team that won Friday.
Blake, a senior, was the other multiple winner for the Durango boys Saturday.
In addition to the 4x400 blue ribbon, Blake also won the top prize in the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles.
He’s ranked among the Class 4A state leaders in both with the CHSAA Track and Field State Championships scheduled to open Thursday in Lakewood.
Blake, the state runner-up in the high hurdles last year, ran an uneventful 110 final in Cortez, but his victory in the 300 hurdles produced another first.
“I’ve never done that before,” Blake said after missing his steps and clearing the second hurdle with his off (left) leg.
“I’ve hurdled (with a left lead leg) in practice ... to keep my body balanced. But I’ve never done that in a race before,” said Blake, who won in 40.15 seconds despite the misstep. He’s the son of Brad and Janelle Blake.
Durango classmate Dakota Sutherlin, also a senior, finished third in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles, helping the DHS boys post 102 points.
Grand Junction won with 143. The Fruita Monument boys finished second (117).
Trent Andrews added a third place for DHS in the 800 (2:05.85).
Likewise, Lewis finished third in the 400 (51.94).
The Durango boys also scored big points in the shot put. Austin Miles finished second with a throw of 48-7. Trevor Gillen of the Demons finished sixth.
Colten Deters of Grand Junction won the shot at 55-7.5. He also won the discus (148-8).
The Durango girls also cashed in with three finishers in the top six in the 1,600-meter run. Hannah Peterson, a sophomore, finished second. Emily Schaldach, a sophomore, finished fourth, and junior Amy Gallemore was sixth.
“I felt pretty good (Saturday),” said Peterson, daughter of Chris and Jen Peterson. “I’ve been getting over a cold, but I felt good out there.”
Schaldach was shooting for a top-six finish and ended up a happy fourth.
“I was really trying to get top six ... and yes, it was hot,” said Schaldach, who broke her own personal record by eight seconds in the four-lap race. She’s the daughter of Susan and Tim Schaldach.
Sill had a particularly busy schedule Saturday for the Demons’ track and field team. The softball player/figure skater ran in the sprint medley to start the day, helping the Demons win.
Sill cleared a personal-best 5-0 to finish third in the high jump, then added another third as a member of Durango’s 4x200 relay team. Oh yes, she also finished fourth in the girls 200. (Teammate Hwang was third.)
Other leading finishes for the DHS girls Saturday included a second and a fourth by Winsor and Karli Foreman, respectively, in the girls 800.
Gallegos, a freshman for DHS, jumped 15-9.75 to finish second in the long jump.
For several Demons, the waiting game started after the SWL meet concluded. They’ll wait to see if their times and distances rank among the top 18 in the state in Class 4A.
If they do, they’ll head to Jeffco Stadium for the three-day state championships.
Final track and field rankings are expected today through CHSAA and MaxPreps.com