A runner’s redemption

Joe Maloney applies Band-Aids to his 2012 state track experience

Durango’s Joe Maloney rebounded Saturday to make the podium in the 1,600-meter run at the CHSAA Class 4A Track and Field State Championships. He finished eighth. Enlarge photo

Shaun Stanley/Durango Herald

Durango’s Joe Maloney rebounded Saturday to make the podium in the 1,600-meter run at the CHSAA Class 4A Track and Field State Championships. He finished eighth.

LAKEWOOD

Redemption wears a Band-Aid.

Several, in fact.

There’s one on his right shoulder, one on his right elbow. There’s one on his right hip and another on his right knee.

“All the way down my right side, pretty much,” Durango junior Joe Maloney said Saturday after a refreshing sip of redemption at the CHSAA Class 4A Track and Field State Championships.

One day earlier, Maloney took a nasty fall when runners were jostling for position in the 4x400 relay. The pain of disappointment for Maloney far exceeded the pain that prompted the Band-Aids up and down his road-rashed right side.

Plus, earlier Friday, Maloney nearly fell in a crowded, elbow-throwing, shoulder-bumping heat of the 800-meter run.

“That ... wasn’t going to happen (Saturday). Not (Saturday),” Maloney said.

He rallied to finish eighth in the 1,600-meter finals at rainy Jeffco Stadium, earning a position on the Class 4A podium.

“I was afraid I might knock somebody else over,” he said after protecting his running lane.

“But after (Friday), I was really proud ... to get on the podium (Saturday).”

“Way to go, Joe,” sister Shannon Maloney said as Joe recovered from his podium run in the 1,600. Joe Maloney, a junior, finished in 4 minutes, 27.77 seconds. Nick Harris, a senior from Niwot, won in 4:18.79.

Minutes before Joe’s race, Shannon Maloney put the family (Joe and Shannon’s parents are Murdoch and Shannon Maloney) on the podium when she finished fifth in the girls 1,600-meter run.

“It was fast,” said the freshman Maloney. She called the opening 800-pace from Karina Ernst of Thompson Valley and Heather Bates of Discovery Canyon extremely fast.

“I tried to go with someone who had passed me,” Maloney said of her move on the third of four laps.

Maloney eventually caught Discovery Canyon’s Allie Morgan.

Then, on the final straight, Maloney outsprinted Alison Deitsch of Palmer Ridge for fifth place.

“We both started sprinting at the 100 (yard mark),” Shannon Maloney said. “We were neck-and-neck. I got her with a lean, I think.”

Maloney, who was part of Durango’s school record-setting state runner-up 4x800 relay team Thursday, collected her third medal of the 2012 state championships later Saturday in the 4x400 relay.

The Demons, who had qualified as the final and ninth team (in school record time), moved up one position in Saturday’s finals, staged during a torrential rainstorm late in the day.

The Durango team of Hannah Hwang, Karli Foreman, Dominique Ward and Shannon Maloney finished eighth in the relay (4:04.34).

On the rain-soaked, all-weather track, with a squish, squish, squish on every step, the Demons ran more than four seconds slower than they did in the heat of Friday’s qualifying round.

Powerhouse Thompson Valley won the 4x400 relay in 3:56.95.

The relay podium finish at state also closed the prep career of Foreman, a four-time state track qualifier for Durango.

Classmate and teammate Jared Blake of the Demons, another four-time state qualifier, wrapped up the 2012 state championships with two podium finishes to match his pair from 2011.

Blake raced his way to a bronze medal with his third place in the 110-meter high hurdles in the rain Saturday morning. He finished sixth in the 300-meter hurdles in the rain Saturday afternoon.

Blake, who had struggled with his timing in the 110 prelims, blitzed through a flawless final. He closed by easing past Josh Cogdill of Longmont and Chris Cutcher of Mesa Ridge over the final two hurdles.

Blake finished in 14.68. Alec Willard of Pueblo South won in 14.52. Jose Mielke of Thompson Valley was just .10 ahead of Blake at 14.58.

“I didn’t hit hurdles ... not like I did (Thursday),” Blake said.

Blake had a similar late charge in the 300 hurdles, again closing past Cutcher to take sixth place (39.52). Mielke, a senior at Thompson Valley, won in 37.94.

“It’s over. It’s kind of crazy,” Blake said after his final race for DHS. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s weird to be done with it.”

Blake, who’s had recruiting interest from a number of colleges, said he’s curious what the future might bring.

“I leave in August for two years,” Blake said of his upcoming church mission in Puerto Rico.

“I don’t know where I’m going to school (after the mission). I’ll wait ... and see,” said Blake, son of Brad and Janelle Blake.

dstrode@durangoherald.com