Shaun Stanley/Durango Herald
Shaun Stanley/Durango Herald
Just how fast is Colorado?
Consider: On Friday afternoon, the Durango High School girls 4x400 relay team shattered a school record that had been in place since 1999. And the Demons, who broke the record by more than 2 seconds, barely qualified for today’s finals at the CHSAA Class 4A Track and Field State Championships.
“Those girls ran out of their minds,” Durango head coach Mark Dutro said after the Demons ran an all-time best 4 minutes, 86 seconds in a super-fast preliminary heat Friday at Jeffco Stadium.
“I thought maybe those girls could get there (the finals) if they all ran their best,” said Dutro, marveling at the overall depth and speed of the Class 4A field.
“Those girls are amazing to do what they did,” Dutro said.
It would have been disappointing for the team to break the school record but not advance to the state finals as one of the top nine teams, he said.
“That would have been ... bittersweet. But this is the best of both,” Dutro said.
Durango got four solid relay legs from Hannah Hwang, Karli Foreman, Dominique Ward and Shannon Maloney.
“It felt good, actually,” Hwang said after her opening 400 meters put the Demons solidly in fifth place in the heat.
A 200-meter sprinter who’s moved up to the 400 this season, Hwang said she’s enjoying the longer race and her speedy teammates.
“I just started 400s this year,” she said.
“It’s fun ... it’s a good relay team,” said Hwang, daughter of Jay and Karen Hwang. “We’re always there for each other.”
Foreman, Ward and Maloney finished the record relay for the Demons, adding their names to a second school record in two days. Foreman, Ward, Maloney and Madeigh Winsor broke the DHS record in the 4x800 relay Thursday, when the Demons finished second Day 1 at the state meet.
The DHS girls will race in the 4x400 finals late this afternoon on the final day of the three-day track and field state championships in suburban Denver.
They’ll be joined in the finals by Durango senior hurdler Jared Blake. The senior qualified in the 110-meter high hurdles in a rocky prelim Thursday, then sailed into the 300 hurdle finals with a clean run and the fifth-fastest qualifying time (39.47) Friday.
“That felt better,” Blake said after earning a return trip to the state finals in both hurdle events.
“They were hitting ... a lot of hurdles,” Blake said after he had to navigate an obstacle course of hurdle carnage and tumbling bodies.
But Blake, who was not pleased with his technique Thursday, responded with a flawless pass – no hurdles down. He started methodically, cruised around the curve and powered down the front stretch.
“You just have to go over the hurdles,” he said simply.
Blake, son of Brad and Janelle Blake, also recorded a 400-meter personal best later Friday in the opening leg of the boys 4x400 relay. He and Shane Bisogno both ran personal bests, while Devin Lewis matched his in the ill-fated relay.
A day that started like a bad dream for junior Joe Maloney ended up as a nightmare when he got tangled with another runner and fell on the first curve, dropping the Demons out of contention.
Earlier Friday, Maloney suffered a similar fate when he was knocked off balance and nearly fell in the open 800-meter race.
“I was really worried that I would go down,” Maloney said after the incident on the backstretch of the 800.
Several sprinting runners converged on the same inside lane without enough room to merge.
“That was tough ... I just couldn’t get through,” said Maloney, who was spiked on the lower leg in the mishap. He still fought back and finished 14th in the 18-runner field.
Maloney, son of Melissa and Murdock Maloney, will get right back on the track today when he’s scheduled to race in the Class 4A 1,600-meter run.
Sister Shannon, a freshman already a part of two DHS school records in these championships, will run in the girls 1,600 today. Shannon Maloney also owns the 400-meter school record, which she set last week at the Southwestern League Championships in Cortez.
After two days of warm, sunny weather, the forecast for today’s finals is calling for thunderstorms with wind, rain and lightning. Officals announced they moved up today’s event schedule with the weather in mind.