Rifle meet a chance for track athletes to get up to speed

Grand Junction’s Michael White sprints around the corner Friday after taking the baton during the 400-meter relay at the Rifle Invitational. White helped the Tigers win the race and Grand Junction took second in the early season meet.



RIFLE — The early track and field season is for knocking the rust off and starting the process of rounding into shape in time for the state meet.

Friday, a few competitors already seem to be in midseason form.

Michael White, who anchored the winning 400-meter relay team for Grand Junction, said track season is a nice combination of individual and team effort.

“I like how it’s both an individual sport and a team sport,” he said. “You can get both personal records and you can also get to run on relays and be with the team and cheer them on.”

White ran sprints and relays last year but he was the lone senior Friday on the Tigers’ winning team, which also featured Camden Dottson, Jason Christiansen and Marty Huff.

“We won one or two relays last year but we had a bunch of seniors and I was the only junior, so this is a big plus to get this win with a bunch of underclassmen,” he said.

Fruita Monument senior Gunnar Rigsby continued to show he will be the jumper to beat on the Western Slope. After setting a school record in the long jump last week, Rigsby won the triple jump with a leap of 44 feet, 5 1/2 inches. He did not compete in the long jump.

Konrad Behrens finished second in the triple jump for Fruita Monument at 40-9. He was also second in the 300 hurdles.

Rifle’s Jack Rubalcave won the 1,600 on his home track, pulling away from a good field to win it easily in a time of 4 minutes, 42.40 seconds.

After a frustrating cross-country season when he battled a tender Achilles, Rubalcave said it’s good to come out with the win at home.

“I just wanted to come out and see what I had today,” he said. “It felt pretty smooth all the way through. It was kind hard being by myself with the wind. Winning was the main thing today. I want to win a state title in the 800, that’s my main event.”

He did not run the 800 on Friday.

Central had a nice showing in the middle distances with Talon Berta winning the 800 in 1:58.49. He also was part of Central’s winning 3,200 relay team with Tyman Smart, Jared McClain and Cano Christian.

Fruita Monument’s Evan Arcand ran a 2:02.73 to finish second in the 800.

Grand Junction’s Alexander Cox won the shot put at 40-3 3/4.

Noah Castro of Plateau Valley was second in the long jump at 21-1 1/2.

Grand Junction finished second to Glenwood Springs in the team standings, 97 1/2 to 93.

Girls

For Tia Wright, it was a thrilling first meet of the year. The senior just took up track and field last year and had a good season in the jumps.

On Friday, she had a great day. First, she soared to a personal record and winning jump of 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump, then won the triple jump and long jump as well.

“That was amazing, I couldn’t get that (height) last year, so to do it in the first meet was amazing,” she said about her winning high jump. “My coaches kept telling me, ‘You’re clearing the bar by like 4 inches,’ so I was like. ‘I got this.’

“When I cleared it, I was like, ‘I did this, I didn’t just dream it,’ ” she said smiling.

Wright won the triple jump with a 34-foot leap and the long jump at 16-8 1/2.

Her teammate, Megan King, won the 300 hurdles with a time of 49.36 seconds.

Wright and King were also part of the Tigers’ winning 1,600 relay team along with Madison Schmalz and Jayden Daugherty.

Grand Valley’s Shaya Chenoweth won the 100 meters with De Beque’s Jentry Largent second.

Grand Junction finished third in the team standings.


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