‘Cats run fast

Fruita's 1,600 relay team shines at Phil Wertman Invite

Fruita Monument’s Allison Jameson, left, and Niki Hunt, center, and Montrose’s Abi Grace McGee clear the hurdles Friday during the 100-meter hurdles at the Phil Wertman Invitational at Stocker Stadium. Grace edged Hunt to win the race.

Hotchkiss’ Jennifer Celis receives the baton from teammate Natalie Anderson as the Bulldogs went on to win the 3,200-meter relay Friday at the Phil Wertman Invitational at Stocker Stadium.

Standing on the infield, under the lights at Stocker Stadium, Chuck Bisbee made a bold proclamation about his 1,600-meter relay teammate, Josh Schweigart.

“He’s the best anchor on the Western Slope, easily,” he said with a wide smile.

How did Schweigart respond to that?

“I don’t know,” he said, laughing. “I just run.”

And run both Schweigart and Bisbee did, helping Fruita Monument High School’s 1,600 relay squad to a win in the final event at Friday’s Phil Wertman Invitational track and field meet.

After taking the baton from Grady Winters, Bisbee legged his team into the lead. The Wildcats never trailed after that, with Matt Steele handling the third leg and Schweigart the rest to clock in at 3 minutes, 34.22 seconds.

“This meet is just the perfect meet for the 4x4,” Bisbee said of the Fruita Monument-hosted affair. “You’re under the lights. Everybody sticks around, and it’s just a really fun experience. It’s easily my favorite 4x4 of the year.”

Bisbee said the quartet shaved approximately six seconds off its previous best time, which should be a big boost for a team that had been sitting just outside the top 18 in the statewide Class 5A 1,600 relay rankings. To qualify for May’s state meet, the Wildcats must crack the top 18.

“Every bit of time you cut just helps that goal of getting to state,” Steele said. “Next week, we’re going to Denver, so we’ll get more competition and push ourselves there, too.”

Steele and Bisbee teamed up with Keaton Brown and Nolan Pflug to win the 3,200 relay earlier in the evening, recording a time of 8:33.31.

Schweigart notched an individual event win for Fruita, edging Coal Ridge’s Jorge Hernandez in the 400. Schweigart finished in 51.37 seconds, with Hernandez close behind at 51.66.

As a team, Fruita finished fourth.

Harris wins shot, discus

Grand Junction’s Deshaun Harris swept Friday’s throwing events, setting a personal record in the shot put with a toss spanning 54 feet, 5 inches. In the discus, his 145-4 throw landed him first ahead of teammate Quinton Walton (132-8).

“I went up like two feet in the shot, so that was good,” said Harris, a senior who played left guard and nose guard for the Tigers in football.

The returning state qualifier in both the shot put and discus will likely compete in track and field at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, next school year.

Harris’ efforts helped Grand Junction to a second-place team finish that was also aided immensely by a 1-2-3 showing by the Tigers in the 3,200 run.

Greg Eccher led the way, winning with a time of 10:01.77. Teammates Charlie Medina (10:27.61) and Allen Adair (10:30.19) were next to cross.

Robert Harrison won the long jump for Grand Junction with a leap of 21-8 1/2.

Hotchkiss got a pair of individual event wins, with Cody Bartlett winning the 1,600 (4:36.97) and Keegan Palmer the triple jump (41-8 3/4).

Eagle Valley won the boys title with 113 points, finishing 2.5 points ahead of the Tigers. Coal Ridge finished third (93), Fruita fourth (79) and Glenwood Springs fifth (72).

Devils win battle for girls title

Eagle Valley narrowly nudged its way past host Fruita to win the girls team title, 99-97.5. Glenwood Springs finished third (78), Hotchkiss fourth (77) and Montrose fifth (76) in a tight race at the top.

Grand Junction’s Whitney Jackson won the long jump with a leap of 17-5 1/2 and teammate Madison Marsh placed first in the high jump (5-0) to help the Tigers to sixth place in the team chase.

Jennifer Celis led Hotchkiss’ strong showing with a win in the 400 (57.99). She also chipped in on Bulldog wins in the 800 and 3,200 relays. Teammate Natalie Anderson won the 1,600 (5:22.65).

Montrose’s Abi Grace McGee won the 100 hurdles (16.07) and helped the Indians to victory in the 1,600 relay (4:14.86). Dana Shellhorn, who also ran a leg of that 1,600 relay, won the 800 (2:17.76).


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