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Demon track and field athletes looking toward state after Tiger Invitational

Boys team finished second and girls got third in Grand Junction
Durango track and field runner Lacy Ruggiero runs in the Dennis Teeters Tiger Invitational on Friday in Grand Junction. (Courtesy Steve Ilg)

The Colorado high school track and field season is almost over. This past weekend, the Durango team completed their last regular-season meet of the year, the Dennis Teeters Tiger Invitational in Grand Junction. At Tiger, the girls team placed third and the boys team took second.

The Demon distance runners led the way in Grand Junction. For the boys, senior Charlie Dillman won the 3200 meter run with a personal record time of 9:41.34. Fellow Durango runners Miles Snow (sophomore) and AJ Bonanno (junior) took second and fourth in the boys 3200 as well, with times of 9:56 and 10:25.81.

In the 1600, Dillman ran a PR and first-place time of 4:26.51. Snow also ran the mile, and finished fourth with a time of 4:39.69.

“Even though I didn’t make the state qualifying time, I know that I ran to my full potential and gave it my full effort, so I’m proud of it,” Dillman said about his 3200 race. “It’s always nice to end on a PR.”

On the girls’ side, freshman standout Lacy Ruggiero also won both of her races. She first ran the 800, breaking the 2:20 barrier with a time of 2:19.43. She then ran the 1600 with a winning time of 5:16.36.

“Hearing a bunch of people cheering for me and saying ‘they’re right behind you’ made me kick as hard as I could,” Ruggiero said about her 800 race. “I couldn't believe what just happened. It's amazing, how 2:19 can be so meaningful. Taking first place and a PR was amazing, it's exactly what I wanted to do and I did it.”

Good showings weren’t just limited to the distance team. Junior Xavier Sutherlin made finals in the boys 110 hurdles and placed fourth with a time of 15.21 seconds. Sophomore Evie Morris made the finals in the girls 300 hurdles and earned second place, with a time of 48.64 seconds.

The boys sprinters also posted a number of good marks. Freshman Mason Miller made finals for the boys 200 and placed fifth with a time of 23.31. The boys 4x100 relay took fourth place with a time of 44.35, and the boys 4x200 earned third with a time of 1:31.13. Additionally, the boys 4x400 squad got fifth with a time of 3:28.99. The girls 4x400 also did well, placing fourth with their 4:17.14 time.

Freshman jumper Donovan Whitehead continued to impress, winning the boys high jump with a 6 foot, 1 inch mark and taking fifth in triple jump with a 41-5.75 jump. Fellow Demon Will Zahradnik (sophomore) finished fourth in long jump, with a jump of 21-0.25.

The girls field events were similarly strong. Junior Jeanne Campbell took third in the girls long jump with a 17-2.75 performance. Additionally, 10th-grader Sonya Tocco’s pole vault mark of 8-6 was good for second place, and sophomore Oshi Reider’s shot put throw of 33-1 was third overall.

Now all attention turns toward the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Denver.

The Durango boys team has qualified in three events: The 4x800 meter relay (senior Brodie Dorko, sophomore Slader Schweitz, Snow, and Dillman), the 110 hurdles (Sutherlin), and the high jump (Whitehead).

The Demon girls team will be sending athletes to compete in five events: The 4x800 meter relay (Junior Bryn Aggeler, junior Dewa Ilg, Morris, Ruggiero), the 4x400 meter relay (Junior Ainsley Sampson, Morris, Ruggiero, sophomore Molly Bertrand), the high jump (Campbell), the long jump (Campbell), and the shot put (Junior Megan Hutchins).

“I’m really excited because so far our training has really worked well,” Dillman said. “Everyone is getting personal records and feeling great. It gives me more confidence that we can contend for a podium spot at state.”

Assistant sprint coach and high jump coach Steve Thyfault is excited to watch his jumpers, Whitehead and Campbell, on the big stage. Campbell did compete last year, but having both a boy and a girl at state is special, according to Thyfault.

The Demons leave for state on Wednesday. Field events at Jeffco Stadium start at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday with 4A boys high jump, and track events start at 8 a.m. with the 5A girls sprint medley relay.

AJ Bonanno is an 11th grade intern from Animas High School.