Going the distance
GJ's Eccher finishes in top two in distance races at Warrior Invite
Grand Junction High School senior Greg Eccher had already put in a long day on the track when he hit the midway point of the 3,200-meter run at the Warrior Wild West Invitational track and field meet Wednesday.
His longtime distance running rival Chuck Bisbee of Fruita Monument had opened up a couple-meters lead, and by the next lap the lead was larger, and it was obvious Eccher was running for second place. But he wasn’t expecting to win, either.
Bisbee cruised to the win in 10 minutes, 17.3 seconds, and Eccher was a distant second at 10:38.3.
Earlier in the day Eccher won the 1,600 meters and finished second in the 800 meters.
Eccher said it was a little frustrating seeing Bisbee pull away, but the Grand Junction senior knows his early season work will make him stronger.
“Our coach decided to have us do some tempo runs instead of actual racing. I just went out and did some hard workouts,” he said after the 3,200. “It was tough, but I just know that this workout today will make me even stronger.”
Fruita Monument’s Kyle Kincaid won the 800 in a time of 2:17.01 and finished second to Eccher in the 1,600, 5:01.73 to 5:07.77.
Like Eccher, Bisbee had a tough and busy afternoon. The senior ran the first leg of the winning 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams for the Wildcats.
Both teams had the same four runners: Bisbee, Nolan Pflug, Marshall Gore and Matt Steele.
The Wildcats’ 400 relay team of Cody Maston, Juston Erekson, Josh Schweigart and Grady Winters won with a time of 45.18 seconds.
Fruita Monument’s Jacob Hahn had a strong meet, winning both hurdles races. Wildcats head coach Tom Goff said he’s excited about how well the sophomore is competing.
“He showed a lot of signs last year as a freshman, so I knew he was going to be good. I just didn’t realize he was going to be good this fast,” he said.
Palisade’s Chance Jackson won the high jump at 6-feet-2.
Grand Junction’s Brody Cupp ran a strong 200 with a winning time of 23.22. Cody Maston of Fruita Monument finished second at 23.68.
Grand Junction picked up wins from Austin Taylor in the long jump (20 feet, 5 inches) and Quinton Walton in the shot put. Walton edged Central’s Mitchell McCune 46-4 to 46-2½.
Leo Gallegos of Palisade beat Walton in the discus with a throw of 137-1.
Erika Meister won the 800 (2:31.74) and 3,200 for Grand Junction, and she likes how she’s running early in the season.
“I’m happy with my times. Last week was my first meet, and I was faster than I was in all my events than I was at the first meet last year, so that was encouraging,” she said.
Meister’s time of 12:44.61 in the 3,200 was about 13 seconds faster than runner-up Cassidy Ahrens of Fruita Monument.
In the 100 meters, a budding rivalry between Fruita Monument senior Katie Werman and Grand Junction sophomore Jill Payne was interrupted by Fruita Monument senior Joelle LeFevre, who won the event in a time of 12.57.
For LeFevre, it’s all about having a good start, which gives her a shot at the win.
“The start is everything when you have all these other people who are just as fast, so I was really focused on the start,” she said.
Payne was second at 12.58 and Werman was third at 12.65.
In the 200, Payne showed that her win last weekend at the Mickey Dunn Invitational, when she posted the fastest time but wasn’t in the final heat, was no fluke. On Wednesday she went head-to-head with a strong field and ran a blistering 25.98 to win the race.
“I knew that since I was in the last heat this time, I had to kick it hard at the end,” she said. “I knew the competition was going to be harder because I know the Fruita girls are tough competition.”
Werman and LeFevre were second and third at 26.93 and 27.3, respectively.
Fruita Monument swept the hurdle events with Bailey Hammer winning the 100 hurdles and Michaela Hoffman winning the 300 hurdles.
The Fruita Monument 400 relay team’s winning time of 50.32 was more than three seconds faster than second-place Moffat County. LeFevre, Werman, Hoffman and Alison Jameson make up the relay.
Grand Junction senior Madi Marsh picked up her second straight win in the high jump, clearing 5-foot in windy conditions. The Tigers’ Sydni Brandon won the long jump with a leap of 15-5¼.
Central’s Emily Stull won the 1,600 in 5:52.55.
Delta’s Bryanna Music won the shot put with a toss of 40-4½, and teammate Lily Lockhart was second. Lockhart won the discus at 119-9, and Music was second.
In the team competitions, Fruita Monument’s 134 points beat second-place Moffat County’s 110 in the girls meet, and Fruita Monument won the boys meet with 167.5 points, with Grand Junction second at 99.