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Demons run fastest times at state meet

Boys 4x400 reaches podium to finish championships
Jaxon Fancher of Durango High School chases Zander Cruzan of Montezuma-Cortez during the Ron Keller Invitational track meet at DHS this year. Fancher placed in two events at the state track meet to lead Durango, and Cruzan won two titles to lead Cortez. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Durango High School track and field team headed to the state championships hoping to run their best times of the year, and many Demons did just that.

“I think it went really well,” said DHS head coach Johnny Bertrand. “We had a lot of athletes PR.”

The DHS boys 4x400 relay team qualified for the Class 4A finals with the team’s fastest result of the year in the prelims: 3 minutes, 26.84 seconds.

The 4x400 finals were the last races of the championships and with the top five teams all in the race, it decided the boys 4A team title.

Running against the state’s top squads, DHS once again lowered its time, placing seventh with a 3:26.40. Lutheran finished sixth, but held on to win the state team title with 67 points. Niwot won the race in 3:20.71 and finished third as a team (65), behind Northfield (66) and its fourth-place 4x400.

Branden Marquez, Brodie Dorko, Allan Hardee and Jaxon Fancher ran on the relay for DHS.

Fancher scored Durango’s other team points with a fifth-place personal record of 49.87 in the 400. The athlete who won the race, Tavon Underwood of Mead, ran the fastest time in the nation this year, and fastest time ever in Colorado, 45.36.

“People were saying it was the best state track meet ever as far as performances go,” Bertrand said.

Sofia Voss also ran a personal best by four seconds in the girls 1,600, placing 10th in 5:07.65. “She was catching the girls who got ninth,” Bertrand said. “Another 20 meters and she would have had her.”

Voss was also eight seconds from the DHS school record, but the sophomore has two more years to chase it.

The Durango boys scored eight team points to finish 25th in the 4A championships.

The Bayfield girls finished 18th with 16.50 points in Class 3A, led by jumper Nykole Meshew and thrower Alaysia Kremer. In Class 2A, the Ignacio girls got four points from Maci Barnes in the 800 to place 36th.

The Durango girls, Bayfield boys and Ignacio boys did not earn any points.

Sydney Wells cleared 9 feet, 2 inches in the pole vault and nearly cleared 9-8, which would have gotten her on the podium.

“She improved a lot this year, which was good to see,” Bertrand said.

It rained all day on Friday, forcing Jeanne Campbell to jump and then put on a bunch of clothes to try and stay warm and dry before jumping again. The first-year track athlete ended up clearing 4-10, two inches from a spot on the podium.

Luke Swenk, Slader Schweitz, Miles Snow and Dorko also ran in the 4x800 (16th, 8:31.62).

The Niwot girls, meanwhile, captured their fourth straight title with 154 points in 4A while Mesa Ridge scored 67 to take second.

The Dove Creek boys finished second in Class 1A with 69 points, behind Cheraw (85). Merino won the 1A girls title with 88 points while Dove Creek finished 11th (30).

The 2A champs were the Dayspring Christian girls (90) and the Peyton boys (65). Alamosa won the 3A girls title with 98.50 points and the Classical Academy won the 3A boys title with 109. The Montezuma-Cortez boys finished 12th in 3A with 28 points, led by Zander Cruzan’s two state titles in the 400 (48.76) and 200 (21.47).

“All of the Southwest schools, we all cheer for each other,” Bertrand said. “The (Cortez) coaches do a really good job getting their athletes ready.”

Only two of the Demons who competed at state were seniors: Marquez and Wells, while senior Maddox Bryant was also a relay alternate.

“We have a young team,” Bertrand said. “We’ll have a lot more competing at state next year.”